International Family Day -15 May 2021 ..Loving and supporting someone with arthritis

In My Family, No One Fights Alone Rheumatoid Arthritis

One of the challenges of being close to someone with arthritis is discovering ways to live as normally as possible. Regardless of the degree of change that arthritis has brought into your life, you can help make the difference! Family and friends can offer companionship support assistance human contact and love.

It is possible for your family to lead a fully satisfying life despite arthritis, like in mine, my husband and daughter are my 2 strong pillars.. However, it is up to you to make it happen.

Learn to be gutsy and experience your feelings–whether they be of anger sadness or grief.

Then lean to move beyond the unfairness of arthritis. Try and focus on the positive. Make your family’s routine life as normal as possible. Ensure that you have a strict treatment plan to follow. Communicate well and make adjustments not necessarily big changes in your routines.

Although it can be difficult living with arthritis, it has enabled many family members to cherish and value each other even more. After all, it’s the good times and the bad times that make up the experience of being a family. We all have been going through the tough Covid times and managing with the grace of the Almighty!

Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life……. J.K.Rowling

NO SPARK IN OUR ENGINE….. ITS CALLED FATIGUE!

Fatigue in RA remains an ‘unmet need’…as it is always Pain that takes over this aspect …hence just sharing my side of the story…

We are all aware of the harshness of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, which may vary a lot over time. And one of the common symptoms is Fatigue

Fatigue, for sure, is very different from the usual feelings of tiredness.

It’s so overwhelming and uncontainable. One feels so tired and exhausted of energy, and a pervasive side effect is one tends to lose interest in anything. Only the person undergoing it can describe it!

A continued feeling of exhaustion has a significant toll on daily living. It’s a feeling which is hard to be understood by the people around you.

When I experience fatigue I usually listen to music or read, make small talk with friends. In fact, one should do whatever relaxes oneself. Sometimes I feel tired simply because I am mildly dehydrated. A glass of water does the trick, especially after exercise or household chores! I try and have a daily multivitamin to guarantee that I get my minimum amount of nutrients my body needs.  I have observed over the years these vitamin deficiencies have drained me off of my energy levels on various occasions.

With fatigue comes insomnia… I have learned how to relax and handle this difficult stage of sleep– especially the fussing over trivial problems whilst in bed. I try and experiment with a lot of mindful techniques like visualize a beautiful imaginary scene, listen to soulful music, etc.

Personally, being in the know of how my fatigue presents in my life on a daily basis, let me to better plan and cope with the situation. Off late I have become very vocal about my fatigue and seek support to do my pending tasks if I am unable to do so and it’s much more peaceful.

Honestly, to sum it up be kind to yourself, this phase will also pass, it’s sheer patience and perseverance needed during these moments.

Fatigue is just an indicator; it doesn’t define you.

The strongest have their moments of fatigue …Friedrich Nietzche

 

FAREWELL….POSITIVE REFLECTIONS 2020 @ RA POSITIVE HUB.COM…..💥

 

This year 2020 will be etched in memory …a year we all will remember for years to come..

For me personally, I had a lot of hardships and a personal loss. My mum passed away, it was a grief way too deep….it was just her life’s lessons and memories that took me through the months.

All the uncertainty and negativity of Covid 19 got me additional strength and resilience. Tough challenges made me stronger, paving the way to a positive mindset which defined my physical and emotional well-being.

Gratitude to the Almighty for every breath I drew into my lungs. I have learned anew to never again take the beautiful things in life for granted and to treasure all our moments and each other.

Looking forward to a more buoyant soul, a robust spirit, a healthy body, and a calm mind..in 2021!!!

A week of reflection 2020 @rapositivehub.com…..

As I reflect on how the pandemic has impacted my life and the lives of my family and friends, I’ve noticed one critical element missing from the lockdown and safe distance: human connection.

We ask each other, “How are you doing?” But do you think we all are truly looking for a full and candid response? I am not signifying we are being insincere, but perhaps the expression has become more of a virtual salutation than a true concern! My typical response is either “great ” or “good.” I mean it, even when it is not true—which is to say, I’m just trying to be positive and move on……

This makes me wonder, are we bypassing moments to understand how each other is doing and coping with life, particularly in a time when we are confronted with the challenges of existing through a global pandemic?

So now, let me stop and ask the question again: How are you doing, really? And I mean it….

It’s true that I have lost something or the other and you too  —failure to recognize this would be some form of super denial. I have lost our hugs and handshakes,small family & friend gatherings, window shopping, and impulsive walk through the corniches and cities by-lanes!

We all need to be aware that life needs to go on ..and just pondering will not get us to where we need to go..to be simply joyful in the moment  as Arthritic Warriors!

Joy isn’t found in yesterday or tomorrow; it’s found right here, at this moment. Happiness is something we design and create for our own selves rather than being tendered to us by other people or external environments.

Happiness exists on many levels. And as Arthritic Warriors not all are blissful and all-inclusive. Some are tender, some are bittersweet. Some happiness makes you feel like you’re going to burst, while at other times, it slips up on you. The key is to acknowledge your happiness at the moment and look for the little things in life that bring much joy. What it takes is an inner change of perspective and attitude. And that’s truly good news because it’s something anyone can do. when you focus on the present moment, you are much more likely to feel centered, happy, and at peace. You’re also much more likely to notice the good things that are happening, rather than letting them pass by unnoticed.

Honestly, I have never known life to be as tough as it has been during 2020. It’s still hard, and I’d still like very much for it to stop. But I can still experience moments of happiness. Through the 2020 pandemic zone…I had decided to intentionally put less energy into counterattacking change and more energy into fully engaging inside my moments, finding “the happy” whenever I can.

Who knows where I’ll find it next? It might be during a walk or a conversation, inside a movie, or a song. Or, it could simply be sitting on my kitchen counter, brewing a slow cooker broth waiting to be turned into a delicacy!

As Arthritic Warriors, I believe there are big-time benefits for finding simple moments of happiness in each day, in light of the challenging times we are all facing together……rapositivehub.com

SLEEP – SELF CARE SERIES @ rapositivehub.com

A well-known fact we all Arthritic Warriors experience is our painful conditions which affect our sleep patterns. It also could be called Secondary Insomnia which arises as to the symptom of a warriors pre-existing condition.

  • Problem in getting to sleep
  • Waking up often during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Lethargic feeling on waking up

It’s a continuous list of issues one could face however I feel that if simple basic steps are taken it aids in increasing the quality of sleep and that means indulging in simple basic Self-Care techniques.

  • Take my meds
  • Have my dinner early
  • Try n keep the room dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature
  • Check that my pillows are comfortably placed and try and use soft molded pillows whenever I have neck pain etc.
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Avoid taking any tea /coffee before sleeping

It is a common perception that pain is felt more at nights… which is true because there are no regular day time distractions hence more concentration on all areas which are immobile and tender plus the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol are naturally lower at night adding to staying still in one position might cause joints to stiffen up.

Lack of sleep reduces the pain threshold and pain tolerance of an individual.

Our mood symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and anxiety often cooccur with sleep disturbance and pain and that changes in our mood symptoms which might contribute to self-reported pain after our continued sleep disturbances.

To summarize it’s a continuous cycle in which sleep disturbance activates clinical symptoms of pain, which then contributes to further sleep loss. Hence, I feel that there has to be the potential to redirect the clinical and alternate therapies for management of pain in RA patients which can focus on sleep and the prevention and treatment of sleep disturbances!

The recognition that patients, even with similar diagnoses, are ‘not all the same’ speaks to the potential of tailoring support from healthcare providers and self-care management modalities to encourage healthy sleep, rest, and activity that align with a warrior’s habits and needs.

As a RA warrior living with rheumatoid arthritis the above comments mentioned by me, I guess should resonate strongly with other RA Warriors!!

Go all out and take care of yourself well…Nobody can take away our pain, but let us not allow arthritic pain to take away our happiness and peace of mind… let us work continuously on ourselves….rapositivehub.com

 

 

Arthritic Feet -Self Care Series

We, Arthritic Warriors, are well aware of our feet aches!! It’s quite common for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to first appear in the feet, the forefoot, back of the feet, and ankles, and so on…in the earlier days of my diagnosis my toe would be particularly painful when I tried to lift it or when walking, but the pain did occur when at rest in too especially during severe flare-up stages.

Sometimes I used to feel it so stiff and loss of movement, which caused it an inability to bend the big toe upwards, which was so painful and made it difficult to walk. I used to get swelling and inflammation around the toe and the joint. Somedays I would observe a bump too like a bunion or callus around.

I also observed that I started to walk on the outside of my foot, causing pain in the ball of the foot. We need to listen and balance our body and its movements accordingly…

Our feet are a great indicator of health. They can tell us all kinds of things that could be wrong, but we just need to know how to listen to them. It’s also important to understand that heel pain may be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis itself. In some cases, pain in the heel, ankle, or ball of the foot can be early indicators of this autoimmune disorder.

Simple daily exercises I try and do:

Knead the balls of my feet as well as my toes, starting at the top and working my way down to the base.

Apply heat. Heat relaxes my joints and muscles and relieves any pain I have. My heat treatments — warm squeezed towels, hot packs, or a shower, and I apply it for about 20 minutes.

Move gently. Move my joints gently at first to warm up. You might begin with range-of-motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before I move on to strengthening exercises.

Go slowly. Exercise with slow and easy movements. If I feel pain, I take a break.

Salt Soaks. I sometimes soaking them in magnesium-rich Epsom salt baths.

Walk barefoot around the house on days my feet are pain-free…so to give ample acupressure at the right points!

My Foot Fix: Rest, ice, compress, and elevate the toe.

It’s a common acronym known as RICE. Icing it and compressing the inflamed area can help tamp down on swelling and eases pain.

I trust my instincts and don’t exert more energy than I think my joints can handle. I take it easy and slowly increase my exercise length and intensity as I progress.

There is one rule, above all others, for a man. Whatever comes, face it on your feet…….Robert Jordan

 

 

 

Embracing Small Life’s Celebrations Keeps our Hope and Joy Alive!

Past few years, celebrations would probably be considered fiascos if they were to be judged by traditional standards. Yet, I’ll never regret trying my best to recreate the special traditions my mom and dad made throughout our childhood. Celebrations, no matter how small they are, give life some feel. If anyone needs something to make one day stand out from all the others, it’s those who are already managing with the challenges and tediousness that often come with unseen illness.

We cherish special life milestones like birthdays and anniversaries for a reason. They epitomize continuity and growth, the unbroken threads that shape a person’s life. They are a sign of triumph over adversity, of strength, and of hope, particularly in the later years when they represent years of life’s experience. The importance of celebrating life is mirrored in physical and mental health, community and family relationships and a healthy inner self-concept.

Life is full of celebratory moments; it is imperative to understand things that give you happiness and make you feel worthy. Even the smallest of celebrations we allow ourselves can help build positive emotions. When we take time to embrace the little moments, we’re less likely to go down the rabbit hole with stress and less likely to get physically sick.

Such emotions give us resilience and fortify us with happy memories.

Over the past years as I look back on my life as a RA Warrior; I like the person I see in the mirror. I have developed a strong mental strength that has allowed me to motivate myself and be a motivator to others. I have been at the lowest point in my life some years ago, but I have managed to come out on top. And all this has come with the Inner Healthy Self-concept mindset and the grace of the Almighty!

A healthy person or a person with a chronic condition appreciates the whole curve of life as a continuous journey, interspersed by moments of pain and of joy but always changing. Special occasions are the milestones along this journey, chances to stop and reflect on life as a whole, and on the person, who has lived it. Giving people the chance to celebrate these milestones is an essential way to nurture their inner health.  Celebration isn’t just a party, it’s a way to show someone that they matter, that their journey has meaning. Hence care givers should work around organizing such occasions. Caregivers can’t take away the illnesses or the pain, however, for one can attempt to bring a little light into the lives. It often takes some trial and error and some imagination, but one can figure out what works. The joy and comfort of these events is an important source of strength for people, even when they may lack the energy to do all the planning themselves.

I am grateful for every birthday and the opportunity I have been given to share the good and the bad with others. I will never give up hope that one day we will find a cure for this condition called RA!

Yes, it is true that we have real-world challenges with the current Covid situation, but we should give extra attention to the good things in life, too. In all these cases, the answer is to stay focused on the importance of celebrating life. We should celebrate the little successes and that helps keep us linked in tough times.

These moments of celebration make us pause and be mindful, and that lifts our well-being.

The advantages of celebration are universal, and can be as powerful in a small, quiet gathering as in a big party.

According to social psychology researcher Fred Bryant and others, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress

So ….Let us keep celebrating our lives at the drop of a hat all we Arthritic Warriors !!!

 

 

Hard Talk on RA

Why it is difficult to talk about RA

Two certainties make having RA difficult to discuss. A well-known fact is that since most of its symptoms aren’t visible, one becomes reluctant to discuss it as they’re a high chances others might not believe that you’re really sick.

The other problem is that it can be a letdown to discuss.

So just a few pointers which I follow:

Who do we tell :

There could be some amongst us who have a special inner circle and choose only to tell them as the trust and goodwill is apparent. I have noticed a few just want to share with any and everyone around as fear factor has set in maybe, whichever the route one chooses, one is the best judge of their own situation! So go ahead and plan your talk…inward and outward!

Deciding how much to tell…a situation at the office or home

The thing about discussing RA is that there’s quite a lot to discuss. The list of symptoms is unique to each person, but it can be very long. How much will you tell about your condition? You could be as brief as a quick declaration and definition: “I have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an autoimmune condition that mostly attacks my joints.”

Beyond that, you could consider talking about how symptoms affect you. For example, “RA means I have a lot of pain and need extra rest.” Or, rather than talking about how RA affects you in general, you might choose to explain how you’re doing on a daily basis and how that might affect your abilities: “My RA is affecting my wrists today. Can you help me pick up these files?”

Of course, you can never know when meeting someone how they’ll react to your sharing, but you’ll probably pick up overtime on clues that someone feels overwhelmed with your news. Rather than talking to them, it might be appropriate to share written information on RA by directing them to a website or other resource. By doing so you automatically become an Awareness Warrior and the bonus is …you feel good by doing your bit…that is what I do!

Nobody can take away your pain, but don’t let pain take away your happiness.— Stephanie Walters 

ARTHRITIC WELLNESS ..YOU & ME…. SMALL TALK SERIES…

People with many different relationships use small talk. The most common type of people to use small talk are those who do not know each other at all. It is also common for people who are only acquaintances, often called a “friend of a friend”, to use small talk. Although generally thought of as surface-level, small talk can be crucial when it comes to establishing connections and relationships. In the current Covid 19 “new world of communication ” in particular, the gift of small talk can greatly enhance a community enthusiast’s networking opportunity and use this platform for spreading awareness and sharing other related topics. Hence, I resorted to setting off these series on..

                          Arthritic Wellness: You & Me

Tune in for next small talk series…until then…

Not all of us can do great things…but we can do small things with great love…Mother Theresa.

 

 

Covid Times: Physical Movements through Household Chores with Arthritis

The ongoing COVID-19 situation has flipped my daily routine but has also had an unforeseen positive impact on my physical well-being mostly in terms of my mobility!

It’s not clear yet whether having arthritis makes you more susceptible. What we are told and you read it all over that – much like seasonal flu – older adults and people with autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic conditions may be more likely to get seriously sick if they do become infected, so it’s important to take suitable precautions.

The main concern isn’t the virus itself, but secondary bacterial infection and other complications that may arise when your body’s defenses are in a weakened state.

Earlier I had a lot of outdoor mobility, my average step count is down by 90% by not commuting to work/ around my offices/ by not leaving my house as much as I might normally do by leading my normal life. The benefits of the passive house hold exercise we do in today’s times is not being realized.

With the onset of Covid  19 and being immunity compromised life has changed as I have started working from home. It’s frustrating not being able to go back to normal and see people. I’m generally at home, but it’s juxtaposed with the slight fear of having to go back when it doesn’t always feel safe. It’s not so much the arthritis, it’s the medications that I’m on that make me feel more vulnerable. My immune system is more compromised because of them, but no regrets as I have found a new side of me.

During lockdown I had do away with all outsourced house help after years and got into the daily grind myself. Was not too sure how long I could stretch but amazingly I have done well. Though household chores are not usually fun for anyone, they can be especially difficult for those suffering from arthritis pain. Cleaning and other chores can be hard on your joints as it requires bending, reaching and grabbing.

I have managed to stay active…by planning my daily chores. I look to these activities as various form of exercises…my daily quota of the required exercise and movement is done by default. So that’s a blessing in disguise!

I have managed to get my strength and flexibility exercises adapted from my normal home activities. I ask for help whenever I need it from my daughter or husband.

Although it may take some effort to create and adjust to new fitness routines, my regular household physical activity has helped me to positively optimize my health and well-being during the current coronavirus pandemic. Yes, the Covid 19 situation has led us to self-isolate and remain indoors as much as possible, however during this time, it is important that people living with arthritis continue to self-manage their condition in order to reduce any painful symptoms and stay positive.

Post COVID-19 there is a new thought process: When there is no clarity, maybe we need to just embrace the fact that we need to look at things differently, think differently and act differently.

Life is like riding a bicycle…to keep your balance …you must keep moving !…Albert Einstein

 

World Arthritis Week -15th Oct 2020

 

World Arthritis Week -WAW -2020 @ MEAF was a special week that unified people of all ages, races, and genders to raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

Each year, thousands of people all around the world take to social media using the #WorldArthritisDay hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to celebrate the strength and determination of people with arthritis.

An excerpt from an article where Dr Humeira Badsha , consultant rheumatologist and board member of Middle East Arthritis Foundation, said: “Arthritis is surrounded by many misconceptions, one of them being that it affects only the elderly, which is far from true. Children as young as six months can suffer from arthritis. The lack of awareness about the disease is the first thing we need to overcome as a community. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of symptoms yet, therefore diagnosis and treatment get delayed.”

“Another challenge in treating patients with arthritis is access to rheumatologists which is again due to lack of awareness. For any bone or joint pain, a patient generally goes to a GP for treatment, instead of a rheumatologist, thereby delaying diagnosis and treatment,” she added.

If you think you may have arthritis? Learn about the most common warning signs. Information about symptoms, health and lifestyle habits will help determine the type of arthritis you have.

Out of my own personal experiences what  I can share is connecting with other people, being active, taking medications & having a healthy lifestyle, having a positive mindset and being in the moment has taken me through my RA journey and is still doing so!!!

Will be uploading some informative writeups, videos soon….

Until then be gentle with yourself…I guess you are doing your best…keep going…rapositivehub.com.

 

 

 

Today is World Arthritis Day -12th Oct

Being Physically & Mentally Active Is The Best Medicine to manage Arthritis !

Keeping weight in check, strengthening muscles around the joints, doing stretching and flexibility exercises go a long way in keeping the joints healthy and pain-free.

Basically a day like World Arthritis Day aims to reach many people who aren’t familiar with arthritis and help redefine what the disease could mean to a person beyond most people’s stereotypical definition.

Setting sights on earlier care and having a much more personalized option for patients is the mission @rapositivehub.com. Also to provide a network for arthritis patients and care takers and and promote awareness events.

There are no quick fixes or fad diets that will resolve our symptoms arising from arthritis. Rather a multifactorial approach will place us in the best position to manage our own health.

For everyone ….wellbeing is a journey….the actual secret is committing to that journey and taking those small baby steps with a lot of positivity and conviction within ourselves………………rapositivehub.com

World Arthritis WEEK -1Oth OCTOBER 2020

World Arthritis Week (WAW) is a global awareness-raising week..

We @rapositivehub.com would have a monthlong awareness campaign through the entire month of October.

Todays talks will be on Immuno Suppressants / Nutrition Talk & Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • The drugs work by suppressing a patient’s overactive immune system which attacks its human host. The current advice for patients is to continue their rheumatology treatments and this advice remains unchanged. Any patient thinking of changing or stopping their medication should discuss this with their rheumatologist as the benefits of remaining on therapy are still thought to outweigh the risks.
  • While the number of people with arthritis is growing, the need for accurate information on nutrition and exercise is as well. Following a healthy diet and physical activity recommendations is essential for treatment, to maintain quality of life, and may help with prevention.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (pronounced ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss),  or AS, is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. It causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.

Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice!

World Arthritis Week -2020..its a virtual conference this year!

The Middle East Arthritis Foundation (formerly Emirates Arthritis Foundation) was launched in April 2006. The mandate of the Middle East Arthritis Foundation is to increase awareness and education about arthritis in the region. Its goal is to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis through leadership training, and in the prevention, control and cure of the disease.

Arthritis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Currently the MEAF runs events such as World Arthritis Day (since 2012) and Walk for Arthritis (Since 2018). Annually it gathers thousands of patients and their families through these and more events.

World Arthritis Day is usually packed full of activities and informative sessions involving around 300 patients and their families, whereas Walk for Arthritis has attracted over 1000 participants – making it the largest arthritis gathering in the UAE.

This year it’s a Virtual Conference – Zoom Platform  -October 9th to 15th .

MEAF is excited to be able to offer the most prolific WAD -World Arthritis Day event yet. Come along and join the fun! Get into the  online activities, excellent expert advice and loads of advice – all for free.

You can register @ https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/registe

Tough times never last, but tough people do” – Robert H. Schuller

World Arthritis Day 2020

 

 

World Arthritis Day :

History and Theme

World Arthritis Day is celebrated on the October 12 since 1996.

World Arthritis Day is observed to raise awareness about the Arthritis around the world.

The theme of the World Arthritis Day 2019 was Time2Work.

This theme would be followed in the financial year 2020 also.

@ RAPOSITIVEHUB mission and aim is to spread awareness!

This year, especially being a COVID 19 situation taking into account recent events, the focus @ RAPOSITIVEHUB will be on Physical and Mental Well-being throughout the month of October. Request you to please participate.

During these tough Covid 19 times, it is important that people living with arthritis continue to self-manage their condition in order to reduce any painful symptoms and stay positive.

To help you look after your physical and mental health, we will have put together a resource full of advice, ideas and tips on how to stay well and continue managing your arthritis while self-isolating or staying indoors!

Whether it’s maintaining a healthy diet, or getting creative on your exercise routine, there are still many things we can be doing to care for ourselves and help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

True strength lies often rises at our weakest point…get up and rise!

WE ARTHRITIC WARRIORS NEED TO CONTROL THE EXCESSIVE ‘WHAT IF “ THOUGHTS…

Being Arthritic Warriors I am sure most of us indulge in Hypothetical Worry!

It’s a normal human tendency I guess, but only becomes uncontrolled when we focus excessively on hypothetical worries instead of realistic worries especially pertaining to our medical condition.

The ‘what if’ thoughts are typically about things we don’t have much control over and have noticed that this goes on a rampage if not controlled.

Practical worries concern things you do have control over, and they can help you be more proactive. If you’re very uncomfortable with uncertainty, you’re likely prone to hypothetical worry and spend a lot of time focused on the future instead of the present.

It’s hard to deal with the ‘what ifs’ and ‘should’ but you have to be kind to yourself. It’s taken me years to be able to manage them and of course I don’t always succeed, still struggling sometimes but I’ve got a lot better at letting the thoughts come and go without getting too involved with them.

Living with (RA) pain can feel like the glass is half empty. But negative thinking and expecting worse case scenarios can make your experience of pain worse. You may think, “My fingers are getting swollen. Soon they’ll make it too hard to cook the meals I love or paint the canvas. I should just give up cooking /painting entirely now!”  This type of thinking is called catastrophizing. The individual predicts and obsesses over a negative event or situation. Then, he or she decides that if it does happen, it will lead to the worst possible outcome, keeping no room for positivity.

Sometimes pain can become all-consuming and can prevent you from doing the things you enjoy, so in effect you may start living a pain-centered life.

It’s also important not to blame yourself if you struggle with these emotions as it can be a natural reaction to your situation. What is important is that you recognize when you may be catastrophizing and make efforts to stop this line of thinking for your health and overall wellbeing.

People with arthritis have to learn to successfully manage its impact on their physical, functional, social and psychological status, a process termed self-management.

Will be sharing at length my personal journey on this topic in my next uploads…

Till then…do remember for every minute you worry you loose sixty seconds of happiness in the present moment and also remember today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!

Drinking Adequate Water promotes healthy joints!

 

If there’s a magical elixir to drink, it’s water. Hydration is vital for flushing toxins out of the body, which can help fight inflammation. Adequate water can help keep joints well lubricated and can help prevent arthritics attacks.

Water does many things for our body. But for someone suffering from arthritis, one of the most important tasks water has is lubricating the joints for pain-free movement.

Lack of drinking enough water, can result in lower metabolism etc. Lack of hydration has also been observed as a contributor of joint pain.

We should all be aware that around 60% of our joint cartilage is made of water, hence it is not surprising that lack of hydration is associated with joint pain. I have been explained by various medical professionals in basic terms…the water content in cartilage is regulated by proteins that become a gel-like consistency when they come into contact with water.  This gel-like liquid-synovial fluid  provides cushioning, lubrication, shock absorption and nutrition to the cartilage in our joints.  They are the framework, much like a sponge.  For the sponge to be “full” and provide that “cushion” it needs to be filled with water.

Joint pain usually occurs when the cartilage has been weakened or damaged, which then leads to typical symptoms such as inflammation, pain and stiffness. It is critical that we keep hydrated during periods of joint damage, otherwise our production of synovial fluid will be reduced and we increase our risk of friction pain and cartilage deterioration.

For healthier joints focus on staying hydrated properly, throughout the day.

Even if you take specific supplements for your joints, without enough water, they will not provide the best benefits.

Water is the best remedy…drink your way to better heath !

 

Eating Healthy…Benefits beyond Arthritis

Although there is no diet cure for arthritis, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system. Adding these foods to your balanced diet may help ease the symptoms of your arthritis and improve our overall joint health.

I have always observed that along with the use of medications,  a proper diet can curb the inflammatory responses from the body that cause pain.

New research now shows that foods may be a more frequent contributor to arthritis than is commonly recognized.

Maintaining the right weight by eating the right foods has always helped me. This is crucial as it’s our very hips and knees that support most, if not all, of our body weight.

Over the years I have noticed that the food I eat not only affects my overall health, but sometimes improves my other medical conditions and definitely might have slowed down my RA progression.

Whenever and wherever possible I try and commit myself to a diet that has fruits, vegetables, broths and whole grains. The numerous workshops have taught me that foods that provide natural antioxidants -are cellular superheroes that gulp up the free radical cells that contribute to development of RA.

Spices like turmeric , cinnamon and ginger are frequently used and processed foods are limited in my daily diet.  My next article will have some more details on this topic… until then …

ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY AS YOU STRIVE FOR WELLNESS

 

Inside the mind of a newly diagnosed Arthritic Warrior…..

Arthritic Warriors once when handed a diagnosis, all they want to know when they will take charge of their original lives and the pain should be reduced immediately, a very normal thought process… It is normal to feel a lot of anxiety and uncertainty with a new diagnosis. With one big answer can come a plethora of questions.

Once they meet the doctors, they need to know the recovery outcomes and readjustment of their lives…another normal thought process…

All what a warrior thinks are one’s own well-being coming on normal track at the earliest and how soon they will overcome this personal crisis in their lives!

Its only with continuous interactions with the medical team with a positive realistic approach that acceptance and willingness to change a warrior’s mindset, sets in automatically!

This happens I feel due to the fact that the warrior is seen as a whole individual and not just the condition! This adds a humane approach thereby inspiring the Arthritic Warrior to adapt a holistic approach to self-care and a medication regime and thus take charge of themselves!

Be strong ..be positive ..and yes ..you will overcome this too!!

WE as Rheumatic Warriors need to shift your internal dialogue to stay happy…

After a diagnosis the way we talk to our self from within is of utmost importance since it will affect our day to day living!

WE are all aware the automatic habit of the brain is “negativity bias.”

Feeling low and getting beaten emotionally is a sure let down… we need to turn around our mindset to walk into a better tomorrow….

WE usually tend to beat ourselves internally due to fluctuating emotions but it leads us nowhere…It’s just getting up when we fall down…that is the key! (No matter how many times we fall down.)

WE just need to get in the apt thought process, I don’t advocate saying we need to be happy 24×7 but yes, we need to incorporate both sides of the coin positive and the negative and have a happy perspective to life!

So, if we wish to transform ourselves, we need to deal with our inner thoughts and overcome all negative beliefs and self-sabotaging paradigms…thus we change our inner dialogue.

Change starts with our thinking and our thinking is a choice…so think twice before you brood again….

Happy thoughts …Positive energy !

What Is Considered a Rheumatic Disease?

 

My frequent visits to my Rheumatologist and other related medical personnel over the years made me aware that these are complex autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that cause the immune system to attack and damage the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and sometimes involve damage to internal organs

Attending various workshops, I have been made aware that Rheumatic disease is not a single disorder, it encompasses more than 200 different diseases which span from various types of arthritis to osteoporosis and on to systemic connective tissue diseases.

  • Rheumatism refers to various painful medical conditions which affect joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and muscles;
  • Rheumatic diseases, also called musculoskeletal diseases, are characterized by pain and a consequent reduction in the range of motion and function in one or more areas of the musculoskeletal system; in some diseases there are signs of inflammation: swelling, redness, warmth in the affected areas. Rheumatic diseases can also affect internal organs;
  • Some people use the word arthritis to refer to all Rheumatic diseases. Arthritis, which literally means joint inflammation, is just part of the rheumatic diseases. Arthritis in the restricted sense primarily involves: joint pain, joint stiffness, joint inflammation, and joint damage. (ref: eular.org)

Stay safe…concentrate on your well-being!

SEPTEMBER – RHEUMATIC DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH -( RDAM )

Rapositivehub.com supports the intent of this worldwide awareness campaign which is to improve the public’s understanding of rheumatic diseases, like RA and others, and to advance the health and well being of the millions living with these diseases in the world.

This year’s theme for RDAM is My Disease May Be Invisible, But I’m Not and will feature the voices and experiences of Arthritic Warriors who live with rheumatic diseases.

We @ rapositivehub.com amplify patient stories, the hope is to increase understanding and awareness of what it is like to live with a chronic disease that can sometimes feel “invisible.”

This encourages us to work together, speak as one voice, and to help educate the public about the realities of rheumatic diseases.

So, we @rapositivehub.com will be sharing various articles, stories, links to promote awareness during September 2020.

You Can Make a Difference…You too can get involved. Let us drive more awareness of rheumatic diseases among st ourselves and our local communities .

You can share your story, views by sending an email and it will be uploaded on this website…

Let us help each other to spread positivism and good health in these difficult times!

Stay Safe …Stay happy!

 

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ARTHRITIC WARRIORS NEED TO LEARN ….TO RIDE THE WAVE OF GRIEF……BE IT PAIN OR A PERSONAL LOSS!

With the peaceful passing away of my Iron Lady..my Mom this week..I had a flashback of memories related to my diagnosis phase and the journey till date, which I felt like sharing…and could be an inspiration to all!

I clearly remember the day I was diagnosed with RA the first thought was how I am going to disclose it to my Mum! I knew she would be disturbed and never be able to accept it.

I remember when it was the day of her weekly visits to my place, I ensured that if I had my pain on that day I would take extra pain killers so that I am her “normal daughter”.. super active and healthy! There were times she would sense my lethargy but I would camouflage it by watching a serial with her and siting put…so she does not see me in pain.

Yes this went on for some months but I guess, the truth had to be told and after a few months Mum was made aware that I have RA…not really that she understood the intensity of the disease and her first reaction was no one in the family has Arthritis how come you? One of the main reasons was because she thought Rheumatoid Arthritis is thought to be an ‘old person’s disease’ and usually asked questions or comments like ‘but you look so healthy’ or ‘you are so young, you couldn’t possible have it’.

I continued going to office only to find out one fine day that she opted to come to my house and do the basic cooking and tidying my place and gone back to her home. This continued daily and it went for months, she only stopped the daily visits once she saw me much better after the medications set their results in me. That’s the unflinching support she surrounded me with in my difficult days! And all this was without much ado…it was her sheer unflinching support that took me through this journey! She continuously introduced me to naturopathy and other modalities of home-made medications, as she felt the side effects would be less as any mother would experience. Thank you mama..

Yes, I do remember there were days when I had to try to hide the full symptoms and problems it was causing and ‘put on an act’ until Mom got out my own front door.  It hurt but I felt good that my mum is not disturbed. This went on for years and it was funny but when she experienced a little bit of body pain she used to just blurt out and say….Hey just pass me your Voltaren !!!

As years passed and she spent some time with me did she realize what impact the disease was having on me. But I will always appreciate the encouragement and support from Mom that helped me get over my own shock at the diagnosis. Her weekly visits were full of activity like shopping my groceries, cutting and chopping my veggies for the week, doing the laundry and lots of other chores. She was a super active person.

She would always say celebrate the strength of this illness what it has given you and shaped you into today. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, but what you can.

She was one of my unsung hero in my RA journey  ..Mom was a part of my Patient Advocacy entourage…she always attended my Arthritis Awareness Sessions , Walk for Arthritis , World Arthritis Day and so on… Thank you Mom for being there for me in all phases of my life…

I pray that all Arthritic Warriors are blessed to have a Mom like you ..will miss you Mom

C.S. Lewis said it well. A loved one’s “absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

DEALING WITH ARTHRITIS IN THE KITCHEN  – GO GET A GRIP…

I have been talking about food for Arthritis a lot … today I will talk about the actual Arthritic Kitchen environment.

We need to invest our time in making our kitchen arthritis friendly as certain tools can make tackling kitchen chores less daunting. Pressure and strain can exacerbate the discomfort associated with arthritis. To avoid such painful encounters, we Arthritic Warriors may want our kitchen to be appealing, but it’s important that it’s functional and arthritis friendly too.

Working in the kitchen can be cumbersome if you have arthritis, adding stress to already burdened joints during flare ups.

The use of well-designed kitchen gadgets and tools can make many kitchen tasks easier and reduce the strain, especially for people like us with limited range of motion or problems with manual dexterity.

Kitchen gadgets and tools that are lightweight, easy to grip and hold, with non-slip handles or undersides are great additions to our kitchen.

I always look for ergonomically designed utensils. These utensils feel more natural to grasp and are easy to hold and use

We need to look into the cooking, eating, cleaning, cutting, opening and dining with utensils designed specifically for our needs.

I have seen some electric kitchen items are extremely helpful as they can power us through difficult cooking tasks.

No one wants to concede, especially those recipes they grew up with. Food is comfort👍 . The smell of a curry or a roast, or something that has been simmering all day in our houses during our good pain free days with the right spices … we want that to be continued …Hence we need to ensure we have a user friendly arthritic kitchen environment.

One thing I am confident of is that we don’t know how to make medication, but we can make food. Hence, I have always striven to make my home and kitchen a comfortable foodie zone, as I do not allow arthritis to slow me down and keep me from the things I love like cooking!

RA Positive Hub Kitchen tips:🍳

  • Arrange cupboards and cabinets so that the items are easier to reach
  • Heights of the cabinets should be well noted
  • Use wheel bound drawers as they are easy to slide in and out
  • Use joint protection techniques whist lifting heavy utensils
  • Use adjusted movement patterns whilst working with kitchen equipment’s
  • Design the work space in the kitchen for free accessibility
  • Selection of handy assistive devices that should help in making life easier
  • Equip it with seating arrangements during breaks.
  • Use small size utensils and gadgets
  • Hang the pots and pans you use most often from wall hooks or from a rack that hangs down from the ceiling . This way, you won’t have to bend to reach them.
  • Work station layout in sync with other kitchen equipment’s
  • Taps and drawers and cupboard handles should be arthritic user friendly.
  • Standing on a good rubber mat can lessen pressure and strain on feet and knees.

There are lots of adaptive kitchen tools available, which can ease your pain and get you back to enjoying preparing and eating homemade meals. The important thing is to enjoy it, cooking should be something you take pleasure from and not something you push yourself to do if you’re not feeling well. It’s meant to be enjoyable not frustrating. The most important thing is you’re getting something out of it. It’s improving your day without arthritis ruining it. A clean and safe household and kitchen can play an important role in speedier recovery as well.

Cheers on our road to wellness!

 

 

THE FOOD & ARTHRITIS CONNECTION!

A familiar question we mostly ask……Does what I eat have an effect on my rheumatoid arthritis?

Answer: You’re right: What you eat may have some effect on your Arthritis. Some foods—as part of the anti-inflammatory diet—may have an anti-inflammatory effect, which means that they may reduce inflammation levels in your body.

Good news: Over the years research suggests that switching up the kinds of food you eat may help you manage arthritis symptoms. Researchers continue to look at the role diet plays in arthritis. While evidence is accumulating, anyone with arthritis can benefit from a diet that provides adequate macro nutrients and micro-nutrients to prevent deficiencies.

A good rule of thumb: Maximize nutrients and minimize extra calories by choosing nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and lower-fat dairy products.

You will probably find that everyone wants to give you advice on what to eat and what not to eat. Remember that everyone reacts differently to specific foods and that you have to work out for yourself what suits you best. Every individual body composition is different.

Most of us Arthritic Warriors have a common problem that is carrying excess weight. Certain drugs, such as steroids, can lead to weight gain, and others, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), can lead to stomach problems, making dietary choices harder. Some people may find that being unable to exercise or prepare fresh food means that they put on weight easily. Others get trapped in a similar cycle during a flare-up, but one in which they are too tired to eat and consequently lose weight, becoming even more exhausted. So, eating a balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight and managing arthritis.

RA Warriors often inquire about dietary interventions to improve RA symptoms, as they perceive rapid changes in their symptoms after consumption of certain foods. There is evidence that some ingredients have pro- or anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, recent literature has shown a link between diet and microbiome changes. Both diet and the gut microbiome are linked to circulating metabolites that may modulate inflammation.

My story …my food journey;

Food is medicine.  You are what you eat! We have all heard it before, but what does it mean? You can’t really expect to treat chronic conditions like arthritis with food but you can, however, make food choices that help fight inflammation, the main characteristic of arthritis. I strongly believe that the right foods also help boost our immune system and strengthen our bones to alleviate the painful symptoms of this chronic disease.

Finding my triggers gave me some sort of control on my flare ups and some power to take my health into my own hands. That’s only possible because I took the time to listen to my body and optimize my environment for it. it’s a way I use to decode the triggers in my environment that influence how I feel.

I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to inflammation and autoimmune issues, you really need to understand your own body and you can’t just follow a one size fits all diet. As mentioned earlier in my posts I have mentioned I had undergone various food intolerance tests and other modalities and now rigidly avoid the foods which trigger my flareups.

I try to eat a well-balanced diet to get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that my body needs..Also..

  • Include a variety of fruit and vegetables, protein foods, dairy, nuts, pulses, cereals and grains. This helps me to maintain relatively general good health and a healthy weight
  • Include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in my diet, such as oily fish, walnuts or foods that are fortified with omega-3s (for example, organic eggs or home made ghee)
  • Drink plenty of infused herbal decoctions through the day
  • Keep a food diary – if I think a particular food may aggravate my condition, I note it downand it helps me to keep a diary of my food intake and symptoms. After a month, I have some idea about which food could be provoking symptoms.

We need to be aware – the symptoms of arthritis, particularly the inflammatory types, can change for no apparent reason. Don’t assume any improvement in your symptoms is due to what you eat or changes in your diet. Be guided by your health professional too. There has to be a balance of both.

Finally my gut feel is that supporting disease management through food and diet does not pose any harmful side effects and is relatively cheap and easy, but always seek advice – if you need help, talk with your doctor or a dietitian. There’s a lot of conflicting information online and in the media about arthritis and diet. If you need some guidance, talk with a professional..don’t just sit on it …work on it!

Wait for my next post  —- Arthritis Kitchen!

Eat healthy …stay safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MANAGE YOUR MOBILITY INDULGE IN POSITIVE MOVEMENTS- MOVE YOUR BODY

 

I am always talking of positivism and my website also is named as RA Positive Hub!

I totally believe yes Positive Mindset but also a more powerful concept alongside is Positive Movements.

Arthritic Warriors experience lack of bodily movements due to chronic pain. Giving in to arthritis pain only make things worse.

Aches and pains of arthritis can slow you down and make you think that moving around is a bad idea. But regular exercise is actually one of the best medicines for arthritis.

Yes, we do get our flare up and so on but we need to win over our thoughts of not pushing ourselves as we will feel pain restricts movement and it will be more painful. Getting started is tough for people with arthritis, no doubt about it, but once you become consistent, exercise is self-reinforcing, because it gets easier, you lose weight, you gain strength, you experience less pain, and you feel better emotionally and the ultimate… you experience your freedom of movement!

I agree, pain is a pain…but I always try and get out of my comfort zone and try and maneuver myself slowly and listen to my body…and behold I experience a lot of freedom and control on myself. This according to me is my priceless personal growth …I am in a situation where I am just not managing my pain but driving myself through the tough times.

I strongly believe Arthritis can not own you or restrict you, you need to overcome with sheer determination and perseverance. Lot of effort goes into getting oneself into this driving mode but let me tell you its worth all the effort and patience as eventually its you who is the winner!

I have observed over the years that yes, I cannot micromanage every small sensation or feeling but I can drive it on a larger scale. Getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself positively to make small movements independently in a radius I can manage and handle. Slow baby steps towards this freedom of movement is the ultimate joy we as Arthritic Warriors can experience…

No matter what mediums you use or how careful you are, however, occasional setbacks remain likely, don’t push through pain, but don’t stop, either, learn how to balance gentle exercise with rest; there’s value to taking breaks and learning where your limits are regarding pain.

So, lets push our overall mindset limitations joyfully!

Fatigue ..is just one of the symptoms ..it does not define you! So work on it…

Does this sound familiar?  You are all set to go to work but somehow feel too exhausted to even move an inch, or just slept without eating as no energy to even make some brunch!

Yes…this is fatigue which has not been easy to measure and conceptualize for Arthritic Warriors as the consequences permeate every sphere of life.  Fatigue is different than normal feelings of tiredness. People describe it as being overwhelming and uncontrollable. They feel worn out and drained of energy, and sometimes even lose all interest in anything.

Reasons I have been told by various doctors could be due to inflammation/swollen tender joints, pain, depression, anxiety, anemia, thyroid problems (hypothyroid conditions), infections, certain medications, sleep problems (lack of sleep due to insomnia), sleep apnea, work schedules or lifestyle, low levels of Vitamin D etc…overall all related to RA condition.

The unpredictability of RA-related fatigue is dominant, pervasive and is experienced as a vicious circle, which can be described in relation to its physical, cognitive, emotional and social impact. Over the years as mentioned earlier the spoon theory is an important tool I have been using to manage my fatigue.

I usually pace myself, avoid going overboard on my daily body limitations and listen to my body. There is a great deal that can be done to reduce fatigue and you may need to try different approaches before you find a combination that works for you. As the inflammation that causes the symptoms is brought under control and as you adapt to the disease, fatigue should become less of a problem. But it goes without saying serious hard work and dedication is required.

Fatigue is commonly reported by patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) but is rarely a treatment target. How do we help ourselves? If you think your drug treatment may be causing your fatigue, talk with your doctor about reviewing your treatment in case certain drugs are causing drowsiness. They can also look for signs of other conditions that may be causing fatigue and check your inflammation or anemia levels when you are doing your regular tests.

I’ve learnt over the years that I can do more as long as I have proper rest breaks. I can actually fit more into a day. Earlier I just went headlong into something and then hit a brick wall.

‘Now I have the confidence to turn and say, “No, that’s beyond what I’m prepared or able to do.”’ Reduce your physical reaction to stress through relaxation so that you feel more able to cope with things you find stressful. Take time for yourself – read a book or have a warm bath, for example.

In my earlier days when RA non-acceptance was at its peak… my RA put various social roles under undue pressure in general, both in the family, among friends and in the wider social network. I put a lot of emphasis on my work life as I felt it affected my identity, social relationships and the sense of normality in my daily life.  After I slowed down and took to patient advocacy role, I have seen women with RA give the highest priority to their professional identity and compromise their leisure time and family time where RA-related fatigue bears the greatest impact. Agree it all boils down to your current economic well being too, but personally out of experience I feel we need to introduce a good blend of both worlds.

The effects of the disease can also change how you see yourself, as well as your role in your relationship, family or at work. Mutual give-and-take is often an important part of friendships and family relations. But rheumatoid arthritis can make it harder to continue to care for others – and may also mean that you need more and more help yourself. Fatigue can affect relationships because it becomes more difficult to carry out plans you make together. Personally I go through such moments and its sometimes get difficult to time and  again explain your condition to people as it sounds like a stuck record! But nevertheless this attitude does not affect me as by now I have learnt to get adjusted to my surroundings and the responses!

We should avoid struggling to manage our fatigue with little professional support, or perceive it to be dismissed, or assume it cannot be treated and that we must manage alone. Being aware of  how fatigue presents in your life allows you to better plan and cope. Friends and family may want to be there for you too, but often don’t know what to ask.  I keep on mentioning that it’s okay to say, “This is a bad day, is there any way you could help with the dishes (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.)?..Go out and get help.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies can also be learned to help cope with fatigue. Some involve recognizing and then changing certain thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that make it more difficult to live with the disease.

Lastly, be gentle to yourself.  As mentioned earlier…Fatigue is just one of the symptoms, it doesn’t define you. There is  a lot more to you then this fatigue syndrome…so go all out and try and work on it…and yes.. you can if you want to!

Stay Safe ..Stay Agile!

BRAIN & ARTHRITIS CONNECTION….

Its all in your head? Does it sound familiar!

Since today being WORLD BRAIN DAY …just sharing a few thoughts

Do you sometimes feel like your thinking is cloudy or you are in extreme pain? Don’t worry—you’re not going crazy! Many people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or any other arthritis experience these feelings.

Over the years I have seen including these below mentioned pointers in my daily life has helped me tremendously through the years…and have very rarely experienced brain fog…

  • I take time out when needed….
  • Keep up to my exercise schedules
  • Manage my daily tasks as per my energy levels.
  • Try and keep things in the same place so that I avoid wasting my time searching for them ….
  • I use reminders and planners to stay organized
  • I eat healthy and try my best to maintain a healthy gut.
  • Watch out on my food in sensitivities and other inflammatory foods
  • Solve puzzles, play brain games and write
  • Be an active member of a support group
  • Take medications regularly and believe in naturopathy treatments

Our food habits and lifestyle have a major impact on our brain health. Brain health is not different from physical health in any sense. Regular exercise helps in maintaining blood pressure and good circulation which is necessary for proper functioning of the brain. It has been proven that movement and meditation also boost functioning of brain.

It is essential that we take care of our brain. Every day, many of you may be unknowingly harming your brain in some way or the other. There are many activities and habits that we need to avoid to preserve our brain health as Arthritic Warriors.

Sleep Deprivation due to pain and its effect on our brain is more pronounced. Lack of sleep affects the hippocampus, which can lead to memory problems. When we sleep, our brain gets a chance to rest too. It can purify itself of toxins only when we are in deep sleep. This helps the cells to rejuvenate.

Sedentary Lifestyle due to pain leads to loneliness and mood swings. You don’t have to visit the gym to get the benefits of exercise. Just walk every day or attend yoga classes or a inter active support group session…the mind will be alert.

The brain is not just a passive, gullible receiver for whatever messages the peripheral nerves send upstairs. And, if you think about it, it’s kind of strange that we would ever have thought of it that way, because this is, after all, the brain we’re talking about: seat of consciousness, the generator of our reality. The brain critically evaluates every danger message it receives — considering it in context, sizing it up before deciding whether or not to take it seriously. Hence, we Arthritic Warriors should avoid being concerned about things that haven’t happened yet taken up our valuable mental space, avoid thinking of the ifs and buts of our arthritic condition, make the most of your today. Instead, focus on the present moment and live in the moment!

Be happy…stay joyful!

 

 

 

MY RA FEET…HAVE FOUND MY SOLE MATE! SOMETIMES SORE BUT HAPPY FEET..AS THEY ARE ABLE TO WALK ME THROUGH !

 

How does rheumatoid arthritis affect how people see themselves? Topic for July @ RAPositivehub.com  

In this series of article, I will share my side of the Arthritic Warriors Foot Wear predicament.

When you have RA your footwear choices can make a big difference. Over the years I have realized that healthy choices for your feet is like having nutritious diet or getting regular exercise which adds up to big improvements in quality of life… My foot wear mindset is like I think of my shoes as a tool that can modify to help minimize pain and maximize my ability to get out and do things.

Wrong foot wear are not only uncomfortable but they aggravate joint problems, bunions, hammertoes, even further.

For people with conditions that affect the feet such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, the right footwear is essential to maintaining function, resting symptomatic joints and preventing or limiting our structural foot problems.

We are all aware each foot has more than 30 joints. Arthritis that affects any of these joints can make it difficult — and painful — to walk.

Just a bit of concise medical description from an arthritic warrior’s window collated from various workshops I have attended.

RA affects the smaller joints such as the fingers and toes first, so feet are often one of the first places to be affected. Symptoms usually strike the toes first and may then affect the back of the feet and the ankles. The joints may enlarge and even freeze in one position, so they can’t extend fully. During my flareups my small toe sometimes is so painful and inflamed that even a whiff of air that passes by can make me scream…during these times I wear thick and cushioned socks thereby covering it from external pressure and it works for me.

The metatarso phalangeal joints  are often affected (where the long bones of the feet meet the toes), and can result in Hal lux vagus (the big toe is angled excessively towards the second toe) and hammer toe deformities (the toes curl up in a claw-like shape). Each of these deformities can cause further problems, for example, if you have hammer toes, you’ll be more likely to develop corns on the tops of your toes.

If the joints in the middle of the foot are affected, the arch can collapse leading to a flatfoot deformity and spreading of the forefoot (where the front section of the foot becomes wider). The fatty pads on the balls of the feet may slip forward, causing pain on the balls of the feet and backs of the toes. If this happens, it can feel as if you are walking on stones. During these days I am always moving around the house in my double padded house slippers.

If the joint where the heel bone meets the ankle (the joint that lets you rotate your ankle) is affected, it can lead to a condition known as vagus hind foot (where the heel bends outwards), making it difficult to walk.

Finding a safe and comfortable environment for your feet is not always as easy as you might imagine. I have always noticed selecting shoes can be quite difficult when you have rheumatoid arthritis: A lot of stylish shoes aren’t an option because they don’t fit right or you can’t put special insoles in them. I am always on the look for deep and broad shoes that can be secured on to my feet with Velcro’s and straps. Deep and broad shoes as feet can swell and have a flare up anytime. I also, consider avoiding shoes with laces. RA flare ups sometimes leave hands swollen making it difficult to tie shoes.

Velcro, elastic shoelaces and zips fastenings these become easier to do up. There are also many devices to help put on shoes and do up fastenings.

For some of us with sickness, pain, or mobility issues, fashion can be scary, and it can sometimes be bleak. There have been times in my journey with rheumatoid arthritis , where fashion and I found ourselves at odds with one another. In my corporate career days, I saw an automatic change in my footwear once I was diagnosed with RA, to all the comfortable shoes without laces or just Velcro bound… I have not regretted my stilettos era …just accepted my new footwear era!

I have gone through all this with a smile and with me there was an acceptance of the condition hence it became a cake-walk to walk! I constantly am on the lookout for comfort and pain free foot wear rather than the look and fashion and have found my SOLE MATE in various shapes and designs.

To summarize I would say we need to realize as Arthritis Warriors, our feet provide support for our entire body and are the first things to go forward when we move in any direction. They take us everywhere, so it is best for us not to neglect them. Take care of your feet by putting them in the best foot wear for rheumatoid arthritis.

Let us step out in the right direction….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today -21st June is International Yoga Day

I have been practicing yoga for the last 15 years and it has helped me to focus on my breathing and building awareness of my mind-body connection.

Over the years I have seen that in addition to the physical benefits, yoga has reduced my stress and anxiety levels through the breathing exercises and meditation. A certain amount of mental clarity and stillness comes across and the mood improvements has surely assisted me in coping my RA.

I remember my early specialized yoga practitioners used to mention something to this extent that Yoga facilitates the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms mediated through a variety of downstream pathways and bring about natural immunological tolerance. I never understood the holistic underlying meaning beneath these statements those days but looking back today it does have its roots in its efficacy!

The gentle yoga exercises do help us to focus on our body’s natural tendency to heal itself and find balance.

I suggest discussing yoga with your doctor before giving it a try and then, once you get started, always listen to your body. If it feels like a stretch, that is a good thing, but if it hurts, the pose may not be right for you.

In my beginner’s class and sometimes till date, I always use props such as blocks, pillows or rolled up towels whenever I need support.

No matter what type of yoga you decide to try, I would say it is better to begin with a qualified practitioner. Save the yoga videos for later date, when you’re more confident with your yoga practice. If possible, find an instructor who has experience working with people with chronic conditions like arthritis.

To summarize I would say that socializing is a component of group yoga practices that has motivated me to seek out yoga classes, and currently this aspect of my yoga classes has been particularly beneficial to me.

The face-to-face socializing yoga class, in addition to reducing pain and enhancing my mobility, has always offered me a mood-boosting camaraderie!

Due to COVID – 19 pandemic, most yoga practitioners around the world have shut down the yoga studios and turned to limited home practices and online yoga classes. Hence, International Yoga Day 2020 mostly will be celebrated through digital media all over the globe due to the pandemic and lock-down imposed.

Happy Yoga Day to you and all my Dancing Yogis out there !

“The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness” – Sakyong Mipham

Embrace the pace of your own journey!

In my previous post, I had mentioned that I will share my pacing tool kits and thought process which I use to combat my RA pain and fatigue.

Here you go…

The minute I get up in the morning, I can visually gauge my days activities based on the early morning fatigue and pain levels if any and resort to having an internal dialogue (self-talk) and see the expectations !..it might seem strange to some but the more you listen to your inward self the more one is in control and you can navigate accordingly.

In Pacing I find the right balance of my day’s activities and rest for my RA condition. I must admit that with pacing, I have learnt to live my life according to a tentative plan rather than in response to the symptoms, thereby I feel I have a sense of managing RA rather than RA controlling me.

However, Pacing is the key….it depends how I pull the gears and pace the day.

Basically, its energy conservation methodology…based on listening to your body and gut feel.

My Planning & Thought Process;

Once I visually plan and allocate, on execution I start pacing myself. I start doing the activities and take small breaks in between.

I avoid rushing any tasks and drive it at my own pace… Sometimes I avoid doing the bed as soon as I get up …or delay the laundry…I ask myself …is it the end of the world if I do not do it at that very moment?  No…according to me .. it is not!

Is anyone going to come for inspection   …No…definitely not …so I pace it at my convenience.

Pacing is difficult…it takes discipline. It takes self-control. Pacing is an art which is honed over a period of time rather than a science; I just try to be creative and pace myself.

If I feel I cannot do it, I don’t push myself too much…I am not competing with anyone. I am quite assertive in this area and do not have any guilt pangs…asking for help if its needed.

Pacing myself through activities:

It is like an activity switching tool… I have found keeps my concentration and energy levels intact, I break my activities like if I need to cook , I will cut, chop take a break watch a you tube talk show and go back to continuing cooking and again go and do some reading/writing/office work , rest and finally return to complete the final steps. This way my physical movements are not overworked and I maintain my pace and able to complete my other to do lists through the day. Activity switching among social, physical and mental activities is a super blend combo which has become a part and parcel of my life. A point to be noted..on non flareup days ..I do not over do things…

Over time I have realized that although the size of my teaspoons is normal with pacing, I manage to collect more space in those same spoons and these normal tea spoons literally feel like huge table spoons! That is my biggest takeaway from my PACING tool!

Seeking and honoring my limits in contrast has only expanded my activity levels and in a position to flatten the roller coaster ride that RA brings along with it!

Life is . . . not about counting the losses and the lost expectations, but rather swimming and pacing ourselves, with as much grace as can be mustered, in the joy of all of it… let me admit, this thought process is easy said than done. If I do not implement it in my daily life no one will implement it for me…so here I am advocating what I do as an RA Warrior!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spoon theory that has helped navigate my RA journey!

 

Today I am going to share a known arthritic toolkit…the Spoon Theory and how it has been an indispensable part of my RA journey.

In one of the early workshops I had attended on Pain Management I was introduced to the SPOON THEORY, which most of you must have heard about it. This was the analogy that was first introduced by Christine Miserandino in 2003. It was just a year after I was diagnosed with RA!

The Spoon Theory has been circulated worldwide since Miserandino first shared it. Many people now call themselves “spoonies” and our warrior tool is the spoon!

Personally, When I was introduced to this concept, I was grateful. Finally, I felt I had a way to explain my endless fatigue to my extended family, friends and office colleagues. Sometimes it is hard to express our feelings. Finding the right words to describe our feelings can be just as frustrating as the feeling itself. With this theory in mind, positive communication while promoting our own self-care can be as simple as ‘spoons’.

I speak at various conferences and workshops and many ask me to describe what a typical day for me is like, and I immediately say, “Have you heard of the Spoon Theory?”. I recapitulate it for them and tell them to surf and find out for themselves. What I experience is immediately the audience is able to relate to it …and they share a statement saying “Oh really. Now, I get it.”!

Normal people begin their day with limitless energy levels, that they are raring to go. Whereas Warriors like us have our own daily limitations.

The minute my eyes open in the morning a visual body Xray is done and I am aware of my energy and pain levels which I equate it to how many spoons I have.

I normally assign 12 spoons for a day, which in normal times without a flare up, covers up my basic routine activities.

On a flare up day my basic activities become a real struggle and need meticulous allocation of my energy spoons. By doing this simple allocation in my mind I have visually charted the course of my day. Hence the feeling of helplessness or frustration is on a very low scale as predetermined activities that can be attended to are taken care of on priority basis.

My daughter will always check with my spoon levels for the day. And without saying anything just by the number of spoons I mention, she understands how my day would be and accommodates her presence and involvement around me through my day!

Each activity I need to attend to is given the number of spoons by assessing my pain and feelings accordingly and the rest are carried forward for the next day!

It has been my indispensable partner on this journey ..thank you my one dozen spoons !

Be a Happy Spoonie and pace up your lives as per your daily spoons!

Next update on how I pace myself for a day and the thought process behind it! See you soon….

 

 

Pursed Lips Breathing Exercise

The technique requires a person to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth at a slow controlled flow.

Basic Step-By-Step process:

  • Relax your neck and shoulders.
  • Inhale slowly through the nostrils for two seconds (keep your mouth closed), a deep breath is unnecessary a normal breath will do just fine.
  • Exhale through the mouth for four seconds (the extended time is the key). When exhaling, pucker your mouth as if giving a kiss.
  • While breathing out, keep a slow and steady breath; don’t breathe out hard.

Benefits of Pursed Lips Breathing

The Pursed Lips Breathing method offers significant mental and physical benefits. For example, it can help in the following ways:

Releases trapped air in the lungs

Keeps the airways open longer and eases breathing

Prolongs exhalation to slow the breathing rate

Improves breathing patterns by moving old air out of the lungs and allowing new air to enter

Relieves shortness of breath

Promotes relaxation…

You can practice this exercise through the day by simply breathing in through your nose followed by breathing out through your mouth, while your lips are pursed, for twice as long as you breathed in.

Suggest try it my fellow arthritic warriors , these are simple exercises and feel the difference!

 

Breathing Exercises – Improve Lung Functionality in these tough times

We as Arthritic Warriors are aware building & maintaining muscles can be only done through our regular exercise regime.

This week we just concentrate on LUNG HEALTH !

Our prime concentration should be on the muscles in the neck, chest and the diaphragm. The part between the ribs is another vital area.

Regular exercise pattern will keep our lung health at its optimum peak.

Overall Oxygen delivery levels get more efficient.

I have been practicing breathing exercise for the last 15 years… and I clearly remember my trainers spelling this loud and clear …Out with the old, stale air and in with new fresh air.

That’s the theme of the two most useful breathing exercises—pursed lip breathing and belly breathing which I have been practicing … will discuss in detail in my next update…

Why Breathing Exercises Can Help Arthritic Warriors!

Around eighty percent of inhaling and exhaling is done by our diaphragm. We are all aware the diaphragm is a thin skeletal muscle that sits at the base of the chest and separates the abdomen from the chest.

When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts (tightens) and moves downward. This creates more space in your chest cavity, allowing the lungs to expand. When you exhale, the opposite happens — your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward in the chest cavity.

When you are ill with an ailment that impacts the lungs, this elasticity can be affected. Often, air is not fully expelled in this case and stale air builds up in the lungs leaving less room for the diaphragm to contract and bring in fresh oxygen. The body will attempt to compensate by using other muscle groups, but this can only do so much and overall oxygen levels decrease.

Hence, we as Arthritic Warriors need to indulge ourselves in regular breathing exercises which can greatly assist in helping lungs shift the accumulated stale air, increasing oxygen levels and ensuring the diaphragm can work efficiently.

Next update will be on the common two-tier breathing approach …Watch out!

The Unsung Heroes

 

If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, osteoarthritis,  Ankylosing Spondylitis, or any critical illness your pain and stress can be off the charts. Truth time: You’re not the only one hurting. Another negative side effects of being diagnosed with Chronic Arthritis is the strain it can put on our families. Our diseases can wreak havoc on day to day life.

We need to talk about their struggles, too. They do so much for us, so it’s important to acknowledge and validate their feelings.

A BIG SALUTE TO;

To the parent of a child with juvenile arthritis who wakes up earlier than usual to prepare a warm bath, so their child can move his/her joints before heading off to school. It is the parent who has to prepare a good breakfast because their child will need to take morning medicines. It is the strength of a parent who cries in the shower alone, but puts on a brave face in front of their child as they prepare their biologic injection.

To the friend of a person with arthritis who learns to hold their hands differently because crossing their fingers is way too painful.

To the spouse/partner of a person with arthritis who quietly helps his loved one dress, put on their shoes, and get ready to face the world every day, while no one else has any idea of what it may have taken to get them out the door. It is the spouse who waits patiently after the clinic doors close, leaving them alone with their thoughts and prayers as their loved one undergoes yet another shot. Thank you my hubby!

To the child of a person with arthritis who grows up all too soon by taking care of their parent, reversing the traditional caretaker roles. These children, who mature before their time, learn to take on a myriad of adult-type responsibilities. Thank you my baby!

When someone with rheumatoid arthritis like me is surrounded by people determined to live above the illness, an interesting thing happens.

The person embraces this challenge. Connects more. Smiles more. Reaches for newer paths. Holds their care circle—family, friends, treatment team—tighter. Maybe even shares what they’ve learned with others taking their first steps along this journey…like what has been my mission!

KEEP MOVING, TO STAY A STEP AHEAD OF ARTHRITIS.

There are many different forms of exercise to choose from. The type that is best for you will depend on your personal preference, the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you have other musculoskeletal conditions or health issues.

If you aren’t sure which exercises are suitable for you, be guided by your doctor or other health professional, such as a physiotherapist

Getting started is tough for people with arthritis, no doubt about it. But once you become consistent, exercise is self-reinforcing, because it gets easier, you lose weight, you gain strength, you experience less pain, and you feel better emotionally.

Aim to do some form of exercise every day. The exercises you choose should ideally help with:

Flexibility – stretching and range of movement exercises help maintain or improve the flexibility of your joints and nearby muscles. They will help keep your joints moving properly and ease joint stiffness.

Strength – to build muscle strength, provide stability to your joints and improve your ability to perform daily tasks

Overall fitness – exercise that gets you moving and increases your heart rate (such as walking, swimming and cycling) will help improve the health of your heart and lungs (cardiovascular system).

Many types of exercise can help with flexibility, strength and overall fitness at the same time, including:

  • swimming or water exercise classes
  • taichi,
  • walking
  • chair exercises
  • low-impact aerobics,
  • strength training and
  • dancing

The exercise you choose should be something you enjoy and you’re committed to doing. Consider exercising with friends, or in a group or a team environment if you find it difficult to get motivated. I have been personally doing these group classes for the last 5 years and look forward to each one of them.

Sometimes it can be difficult to exercise due to pain. An inflamed, hot or painful joint needs rest, but too little exercise can cause muscle weakness, pain and stiffness. It’s important to find the right balance of rest and exercise.

The trick to not losing quality of life, it is to find a substitute for the activities limited by arthritis. What can you do? Walk, swim, walk in water — anything that gets you moving. The bottom line: As we get older, if we don’t get up and move around as much as we can, then we soon won’t be able to move at all.

If you’re not sure what the right balance is for you, talk with your doctor, physiotherapist for some advice… but keep moving!

 

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Points to remember about Arthritis – Part 2

 

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the world. It is not a single disease, but a grouping of conditions that affect joint pain.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.  While arthritis can affect both men and women, it is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go and can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years but may progress or get worse over time

Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and inability to do daily activities. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes.

These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-rays.

Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.

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Mind-Body Practices when Living with Arthritis

I have resorted to Mind-body practices like mindfulness which has helped me to deal with rheumatoid arthritis which usually is accompanied by pain, fatigue, sleep difficulties and stress, among other concerns. By remembering that the body and mind work together, I have learnt to channel this bi-directional (mind influences body, body influences mind) experience towards achieving some stress reduction and improving my overall sense of well-being.

Mindfulness as I have been thought through my special sessions, simply means the focus of the energy of the mind – or focused awareness. The idea is that you focus, aim, and sustain attention. There are many ways to be mindful, but the foundation of all mindfulness is being in the moment.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Mindfulness has been one of my most powerful tonics on my journey of wellbeing!

Will talk about the tools used in my next posts.

Peaceful moments to all!

Points to remember about Arthritis

 

This is the last week of May-Arthritis Awareness Month, join in the efforts to increase arthritis awareness and encourage someone you know with arthritis to take the leap and engage in safe and effective physical activity programs to improve their physical function and overall quality of life.

Arthritis Awareness Month is the perfect time to share information because it will generate impassioned dialogue among members of our patient communities

My sincere effort in raising awareness is for my story to resonate with the community and inspire my fellow arthritis warriors to live an active life despite an arthritis diagnosis. Yes we can!

  1. Plan ahead.Every single day organize your routines so you minimize movements that are difficult or painful. Listen to your body.
  2. Keep moving.Avoid holding one position for too long. When working at a desk, for example, get up and stretch every 15 minutes. Schedule exercises through the week.
  3. Discover your strength.Put your strongest joints and muscles to work. To protect finger and wrist joints, push open heavy doors with the side of your arm or shoulder. To reduce hip or knee stress on stairs, let the strong leg lead going up and the weaker leg lead going down.
  4. Ask for help.People with arthritis often worry about the possibility of growing dependent on others.
  5. Take advantage of labor- saving devices and adaptive aids.Simple gadgets and devices can make it easier to perform daily activities such as cooking, writing, or even getting dressed. Long-handled grippers, for example, are designed to grasp and retrieve out-of-reach objects. Rubber grips can help you get a better handle on faucets, pens, toothbrushes. Pharmacies, medical supply stores, and online vendors stock a variety of aids for people with arthritis.

 

 

When a Loved one has Arthritis

 

Looking after someone or becoming the carer for someone who has arthritis can be difficult and it can be challenging.

There is a fine balance to strike which involves providing a good level of care but also allowing that person their independence and respecting their wishes about their care.

It’s important to gauge when care is needed and when you can stand back and there will be bumps along the way but you can be sure every day you provide care, will be highly valued.

Understanding Arthritis is important because it not only affects the person with the ailment but impacts every person in their close circle of family and friends. Arthritis is a chronic condition and its impact is a life-long journey.

People with arthritis often are discouraged and say, “My family doesn’t understand”, or “My friend doesn’t get what it’s like for me”. Family and friends are not deliberately trying to misunderstand, be difficult, or seem uncompassionate. They really don’t understand, as they are not in your shoes! Hence awareness campaigns are important.

Suggest certain actions family and friends can take to enhance their understanding.

Understand what arthritis means – what causes it, how it develops, and how it affects people. In the same way that understanding their condition helps people with arthritis to cope with it, the more you understand about arthritis the more you will be able to provide successful care and support.

Communicate effectively. Good communication in both directions is essential. The person with arthritis needs to feel well supported and may also need reassurance that you do not resent the responsibility falling on you. It needs to be transparent.

Offer practical help with the treatment. This may mean helping the person to take their medications or assisting with recommended exercises, activities or therapies that they have found helpful in reducing the symptoms of their arthritis. Continuity is the key.

Support the person as a family member or close friend of the person who has arthritis, ask if you can accompany them to their doctor appointment. This is a way of demonstrating your support and also gives you the opportunity to raise questions and to hear the response directly from the doctor. It is yet another good way to learn and support at the same time.

 

An RA Update

People have long feared rheumatoid arthritis (commonly called RA) as one of the most disabling types of arthritis. The good news is that the outlook has greatly improved for many people with newly diagnosed (detected) RA. Of course, RA remains a serious disease, and one that can vary widely in symptoms (what you feel) and outcomes. Even so, treatment advances have made it possible to stop or at least slow the progression (worsening) of joint damage.

We are all aware our Rheumatologists now have many new treatments that target the inflammation that RA causes. They also understand better when and how to use treatments to get the best effects.

RA is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. But so far it is not clearly known what triggers it.

Your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection.

If you have RA, your immune system mistakenly sends antibodies to the lining of your joints, where they attack the tissue surrounding the joint.

This causes the thin layer of cells (synovium) surrounding your joints to become sore and inflamed, releasing chemicals that damage nearby; bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

Small joints in the hands and feet are most commonly affected. Sometimes RA can affect your organs, such as eyes, skin or lungs

Have been working on ppt presentations on the above – a basic patient awareness version which I have accumulated through my various visits to all the medical professionals through the last 18 years!

Coming soon…

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MAY – My RA Musings:

 

I must admit my websites name is RA Positive Hub…but yes, some days it’s pretty hard to stay positive!

Whenever negative knocks at my door, I make sure my full room is filled with positivity, so there is no place for negativity, these are those difficult flare up days!

As every RA Warrior is well aware, it could be exhausting explaining to people why you’re not working, or why you are not socialising, or why you are not driving and so on…but never give up!

Actually, in my good old days if I heard “but you actually don’t look sick from out you look fine”, I would be upset…

But as time passed and I gracefully learnt to accept my ailment it gave me courage and hope in some of my darker moments. Today I can say all my baby steps on the road to well-being, are counted as my major achievements and have been placed in a better space to manage myself.

We have special months dedicated for ailment awareness…and month of May is ARTHRITIS AWARENESS MONTH.

So, let us go out in full spirit, spread the word and make the world a better place, thereby try to change the community mindset! Awareness is the key as it does not only help to make the lives of Arthritis Warriors much easier but also, if the community at large is made aware of the ailment and a conscious inner awareness can be ignited, they themselves will be on the constant look out for their own wellbeing and their families and automatically become good care givers if they have RA Warriors like you and me in their families!.

Be Positive and Blissful!

 

 

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What were some of my lifestyle changes I had to make as an RA Warrior!

How RA affects my health; it’s as simple as that. My lifestyle choices affect all aspects of my physical well-being, and that includes my joints.  I constantly experience a struggle to determine the right balance of lifestyle habits in order to enhance my quality of life and to try to achieve a normal life, independent of my established RA.

(RA) is a health condition I have realised that has played several different roles in my life. Sometimes it is strong and angry. Other times it can be gentle and in control. It has a way of making surprise visits when least expected. Funnily it has a personality of its own. Keeping RA in check means finding a balance of medications and lifestyle changes that allow me to lead the live I desire.

RA not only influences my everyday life and work, but it also affects my relationships. The condition has an impact on many different parts of my relationships, and influence the roles I assume, the division of chores in the household, mutual family plans and leisure activities. All holidays and outgoings require planning including travel, movies or family gatherings. A few times I had to cancel my trips as I was not feeling too confident of my health.

I constantly find myself balancing between ideality and reality!

As a reminder, I am sharing what worked for me; this does not mean that it will work for everyone. I do not have any medical training other than living with chronic illnesses and pain for 18 plus years, yes but I know more than the new RA warrior who has just been diagnosed!

  1. Staying Active

Exercising for most will be the last thing we want to do when your joints ache, but I have seen through the years that physical activity alleviates joint pain and stiffness, increases joint mobility, strengthens muscles and improves my mental health.  I do at least a small amount of yoga movements every day. I do what I can to make sure the muscles in my body are able to help my joints work well and to protect them from themselves.

My prime mission is I always want my joints and my muscles to remain as strong as possible, hence I keep using them daily. The trick is to use them the right way.

I will vouch that these lifestyle changes, along with my medications, have assisted me in helping to achieve greater mobility and reduced pain.

  1. Always maintain a Healthy Weight

Always concentrating on my BMI and ensuring not to put any extra kilos through the years. As any additional pounds worsens my aches and pains.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

Concentrate on foods which assist to fight inflammation, strengthen my bones and boost my immune system. These include foods rich in inflammatory-fighting omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, olive oil; antioxidant-rich herbal teas; fibre-rich multi whole grains and beans; and vitamin C-rich citric fruits. Found myself to be allergic to some foods hence totally avoid them and feel better. Diet -based and lifestyle- based disease management is very hard.

  1. Constantly on the lookout for balanced Vitamin D levels

Avoid vitamin D deficiency as it can worsen existing arthritis symptoms. Not having sufficient vitamin D can lead to a pro-inflammatory result and can cause symptoms to arise or worsen. Hence always control it with regular blood tests and Vit D supplements.

  1. Manage my Stress

I always recognize what causes my stress and divert what I can. Schedule time for breaks, my hot baths, avoid people who antagonize me and give me negative vibes. Negativity is a no-no for me. My daily routine involves relaxation exercises including a few minutes of meditation, deep breathing and guided imagery.

  1. Fighting Fatigue

Resting my body is an important aspect when living with rheumatoid arthritis, especially during a flare-up. Dealing with the day to day pain and stiffness of RA during flare ups can be draining. Fighting fatigue is all about a balance between rest and activity and that is what I am on top of it.

  1. Always try Alternative Treatments along with my Medications

Over the years I have also relied on a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and alternative treatments to control my symptoms and prevent flare-ups. The addition of these changes and alternative treatments have helped to reduce my dependence on drugs and lower the side effects and costs of RA medications. It could be a massage therapy, herbal or essential oils, acupressure, NST, etc, I cannot pinpoint to one single medium, but I have never stopped my medications.

When we take steps to control our RA symptoms, we are at a lower risk of developing additional diseases and permanent damage.

Incorporating all the above into my lifestyle has helped me to not only live well—but thrive—with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Speak our hearts out…….

 

I Just thought ..Let us speak our heart out in these COVID times

Join me, get comfy and have a virtual cuppa coffee with me in these lockdown times.

We all know sometimes you just need a friend, a hug, and time to care for the ‘you’ inside. We understand that arthritis affects lives in ways beyond the physical; it can hurt your emotions, your self-esteem and cause worries too. Too much of the corona virus Stress, Anxiety and Worry talks happening around.

This section is a pure hug in words!

I will releasing small podcasts and if you have your views please respond.

I am working on my website to get it more interactive ..hopefully it gets done soon.

This is all from the heart! Let us give each other some moments of strength in all this uncertainty.

Be safe be happy! Watch out for my next round !

 

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RA Positive Hub – RA Tools & Tricks

 

RA Positive Hub will be sharing a few  shortcuts, tools, and tricks that might help you get things done with less pain and stress.

Maintaining wellness and achieving a sense of normalcy despite the presence of chronic illness emerges as an important goal of RA overall treatment among patients.

It will help you to conserve your energy, ease the strain on your joints, and stay organized.

PART A:  Resolutions are aspirational and subjective.

Most vital be realistic and set yourself against realistic goals.

Set goals

WE Arthritis Warriors should stop and evaluate our goals once we are aware what is at our disposal.

Never allow someone else dictate or tell you what goals you should have or not have. No one knows our body as much as you do.

When we set goals we can follow our dreams is a process, sometimes a long one, with side tracks and breaks

When we persevere, accommodating our own needs to move slower, to take pauses, but then reassessing and getting back to our path is possible. The only way to live with RA is to become as stubborn as a horse and refuse to stay down. We learn to withstand long periods of having to put your dream (and your life) on hold while we deal with our condition and its nonsense. During those times of flares and pain, we hone a single-minded focus by getting through each day. When it is over, when we are better and get our life back, we use that focus to pick up our dream and work on it some more.

Be very practical and keep room for changing short term goals on daily basis as we need to listen to our body on that particular day and to cope up we might need to readjust our plan for the day.

  1. Bodily experience of RA
  2. Achieving normalcy and maintaining wellness
  3. Social connectedness and support

Broad goals in this domain included functionality

Pain reduction ,Lessening of joint swelling and stiffness

Increased energy levels ,Mitigating the undesired impacts of medications .

Less often mentioned is the prevention of further progression of RA damage

Maintaining wellness and achieving a sense of normalcy despite the presence of chronic illness emerges as an important goal of RA treatment amongst us.

Watch out for the next article. Stay safe stay happy!

NEW TO RA ? READ ON…

When you’ve just been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), there’s a lot to process within. You may not be sure how to feel about this new marker, and you’re worried about how it’s going to impact your life. But at the same time, the diagnosis may put your mind at ease, as your doctors will finally be able to treat the condition that’s been causing your symptoms. As you begin to find your new normal with Rheumatoid Arthritis, these recommendations may help you steer more easily.

At the same time that you’re trying to understand the possible impact a chronic (ongoing) illness will have on your life, work and relationships, many questions come up about lifestyle changes, loss of job & independence, relationships, treatments and medications.

Though each person is different – one size most certainly doesn’t fit all – it is generally understood that good support can help you adapt to and thrive with RA.

Support is about relationships. It is to encourage , lift and strengthen yourself, it does not mean you are meek and dependable.

A number of researchers have found that positive or helpful support from close friends and family leads to lower levels of frustration and reduced pain levels in the person with RA

You are the expert on what you want and need. Give some thought to your internal and external resources, and identify who and what could help make living with RA easier for you. Then reach out to these resources, and ask for what you need. Life is a give and take, and now it’s your turn to amend your lifestyle for a better tomorrow.

Keeping in mind that even well-meaning loved ones and others may not be able to identify your needs, actively collaborate with your support network of partners, family members, friends, coworkers and communities to seek what you need to ease your journey with RA.

Support groups can provide an especially effective way to receive the emotional support and information you need to help cope with and manage your RA. Even people with good personal support networks can benefit from meeting with others who share similar experiences and the daily inspirational challenges of living with RA. Doing so will be good for your health!

Good Luck on your journey to regain wellness!

ACCEPTANCE IS THE KEY FOR NEWLY DIAGNOSED WARRIORS

If you are newly diagnosed RA Warrior, it’s easy to get stuck in believing that RA is all that stops you, the only reason you cannot do whatever it is you want to do. And although that may be true if you wanted to become a supermodel, mostly it’s a scapegoat that keeps you from dreaming new dreams, from finding joy in your life as it is. Everyone has limits, whether they live with a chronic illness or not, and the trick to finding happiness is to make the best of the life you have. Continue dreaming. Continue pushing for what you want. Go forward, not looking back to dwell on what once was. That is where you will find your happiness

It took me a long time to know that acceptance isn’t something you arrive at and stay there forever more. It’s something you work on, all the time.

I was very confused for a very long time, constantly caught up in what I couldn’t do. I focused on the “if onlys”—if only I didn’t have RA; if only I could continue working; if only life were different. In the darkest of times, the response from within me was: You have to learn to accept this.

The “if onlys” are ever-present and seep in through the smallest cracks. And then the “if-onlys” grow and escalate into unfulfilled desires. You let one of these wishes in, and it brings an entourage. And the more they pile up, the more depressed one can  become and the more you long for a different life.

WE need to learn to tame the “If only I didn’t have RA” thought process. That singular thought leads to an abyss that chews us up and drains our emotions.. If we open the door to the things we cannot have, the dreams we left behind, we begin to love your life less. So instead, every day one needs to  practice acceptance. WE can do it by choosing to be positive. When you are in the middle of an RA flare, talk to yourself saying its temporary and that you have innate strong skills to cope. We need to navigate  those “if onlys” so strong that they rarely get a foothold into our thought process.

The most important thing is not just to accept things but to meet the challenge. Life should be faced. If I am able to do something, then I have to do it.

My motto today is, I am able to do things and I am doing them, tomorrow I might feel pain, so I will not do anything. I am living like that, depending on what the illness allows me to do. This is my personal theory I have understood that I have my limits and I do not go beyond them… see if this appeals to you.

In these tough times lets Cultivate a Healing Mindset..

We are indoors during the lockdown so let us make the best of it.

Continuing from my last upload…

Making food and lifestyle changes isn’t easy.  In fact it’s very hard.  It takes time, preparation and dedication to focus on the goal of becoming pain-free and BELIEVING it can happen.  I have been following stories of people who had walked this path before me and knew that it was possible. This has helped motivate me on this difficult journey.

I also tried to reframe the illness by seeing the symptoms as information my body was giving me.  I used it like a compass to guide me in the direction that reduced pain and inflammation.

What you focus on expands. Hence my entire focus was on Healing.

The mind is a powerful tool which can be harnessed to help heal.  I used healing visualizations and affirmations and expressed gratitude each day for the evidence of healing in my body. As the expression goes: “what you focus on expands.” I wanted my body to heal so that, rather than the pain, was my focus

What I’ve come to believe since then is that it is still valuable and important for all of us to do what we can to cultivate hope, joy, peace and positivity in our lives, as the mind is the “control center” for the rest of the body, and what we believe, think and say has a profound impact upon our healing. It can be difficult to heal if the majority of our beliefs, thoughts and words tend toward the negative, and we battle hopelessness, defeat, discouragement and depression on a daily basis.

Consequently, I believe that victory comes when we can address every root cause of a negative mindset, because simply taking others’ advice to “think more positive” denies the complex factors that can lead to a negative, disease-fostering mindset in Arthritis.

In my own healing journey through treatment, I have found all of the following to be highly beneficial for helping me to replace harmful, lie-based thinking with more positive thoughts, and consequently, to speak more life-giving, healing words over my body in my day to day life. Perhaps you will find them useful, too: Read through it and see what appeals to you.

COVID-19 and Rheumatoid Arthritis

We are all aware that (RA) Warriors are more likely to get certain infections. Meaning we may have a higher chance of getting COVID-19 and the likes. If we do get sick, our symptoms could be more serious than someone who doesn’t have RA. Some medicines we take might also make infections more likely.

On the flip side, researchers are looking into the benefits of some RA drugs for COVID-19. But more research is needed to know if and how they could prevent or treat COVID-19.

Experts aren’t sure how this  virus affects people with RA or those who take drugs that affect their immune systems. That means we shouldn’t change our treatment without talking to our doctor. For now, the best way to stay healthy is to keep taking your medicine.

There are daily steps we can take to stay safe. I have received a few smirks  and comments from people who say I’m overreacting about the coronavirus. Some people have complained about being inconvenienced if schools ,colleges are closed or vacations and events get canceled.

But not me…my realigned health perspectives

  • I’m preparing for a vigilant few months.
  • My public activities will be strictly limited and most of my work will be performed from home.
  • I will remain vigilant for evidence that anyone in my family has a cough or elevated temperature.
  • Instead of going to the gym, I will do my exercises at home.
  • I will avoid unnecessary travel trips
  • Concentration on increasing mine and family’s immunity levels.
  • Extra concentration on hygiene and the home environment.
  • Overall working on the mind , body and soul connect!

As we grapple with this new and evolving reality, I ask my fellow Arthritic Warriors to take the threat of this virus in the right spirit.

Please protect yourselves and your families by following the recommended public health measures and instructions given by the authorities in your respective counties.

It will protect you – and it may save many lives. Let us all do our bit…Warm regards is sent to all as we each continue our journeys on our road back to health and wellness!

An RA Warrior trying to find and share Wellness in Current Challenging Times

When we learn to cope up with chronic illness like arthritis, we have undergone various losses through our life’s journey. COVID 19 has put the world in a zone where each one is coping with loss in some shape or form. When I visualize, I feel we have walked that road and have become tenacious in nature and possess the grit and determination to face the current challenges and overcome them positively.

We as Arthritic Warriors never know what’s our tomorrow going to be like and COVID 19 has put the entire universe into a wait and watch the situation.

Let us help ourselves identify the important steps to take to ensure we’re mentally and emotionally well during these challenging times.

Emotional & Mental Wellbeing: All of us will find ourselves in a super stressed zone concerning safety and hygienic surroundings. Learn to pace out household chores as per our body’s daily limitations.

Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage. Being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, we may find it useful to limit our media intake if it is upsetting us or our family

Exercise – every little helps

Doing just a small amount of regular exercise can make a big difference to both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. It can boost our mood and help us relax. Try to make exercise a regular part of our day.

If we like to get outside, this might be a frustrating time. But there are things we can do at home to move.

Making exercise a part of our daily routine is a useful way to give structure as we’re all adjusting to the change

Medications -take them on time an without missing a dose

Eating Healthy

Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and the increased anxiety can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around. But with a little thought and planning, we can make good food choices and even boost your mood and immunity

Keep in touch

Feeling connected to other people can boost wellbeing.
With social distancing and self-isolation, it’s important to keep in touch with our friends, family, and community.

 

Stay Safe…Stay Happy!

Food for Thought

 

With pain in our joints, determination in our minds and hope in our hearts we start
digging and turning over every rock or mortar we can find to see if there is some
sort of relief. We all know by now that, many claims have been made about the
influence of food habits and nutritional supplements on arthritis. Some of these
claims are supported by medical evidence and some are reasonable theories.
However, for most of these claims, we are just not sure. the research into food and
diet as a real treatment option has lagged in my opinion. Food does much more
than simply provide you with fuel. It may promote or worsen health, depending on
what you eat.
However, I would like to share my side of the story as I have been living with RA
for over 15 years plus. I definitely have relied on my medications prescribed by my
Rheumatologist, and feel safe and secured in my present moment. To support my
medications, I have arrived at one important personal conclusion that eating the
right foods definitely has helped me through my journey with RA!
Having a Food Plan is that YOU are in charge. It’s your choice to check out the
various options and it’s up to you to measure and monitor what’s happening with
your body. The successes are what help you “stick with it” when it’s tough. If you
know that certain foods hurt you, and you’ve been able to document that by
conducting your own personal case journal study then it will be that much easier to
say “no thank you” to certain foods.
Because some symptoms are commonly associated with many different things that
you’ve probably never stopped to consider that they might be caused by the foods
you’re eating. It is easy to write off nausea as food poisoning or a runny nose with
the cold. But sometimes these symptoms are a sign of food tolerances or an allergy
that you didn’t even know you had.
Correct diagnosis, counseling, and avoidance advice based on valid allergy test
results reduces the incidence of symptoms and need for medications, and improves
quality of life. To assess the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies, two
different methods are usually used: a skin prick test, or an allergy blood test.
I have undergone both the tests. The skin prick test specifically resulted in me
being allergic to certain foods and medicines. Immediately I was cautious and kept
them away and have experienced more pain free days. The bottom line is -there’s
no established arthritis diet plan. What works for one person may not work for
someone else. Trial and error will help you determine which foods you need to
remove from your diet. In general, arthritis warriors need to make genuine efforts
towards having lifestyle changes that can help to increase their chance of
maintaining a good quality of life. We are what we eat!

We Pledge to Raise Arthritis Awareness

RAPOSITIVEHUB@PLEDGE

We Pledge to Raise Arthritis Awareness

Let’s commit ourselves to take the pledge…to spread the arthritis awareness amongst people. On one hand it is an easy way to have awareness days but we have got to follow up with concrete commitments. What comes with getting involved in awareness campaigns is a responsibility to do your bit about what you are aware of. I often questioned myself, hosting specific awareness days is fine but then what happens after the day passes by! I believe positive and genuine lip service is surely a service to the community, in its very own magnitude if a sufficient number of people get involved it can shift the mindset of a generation! Even if you speak to 5 people in a month and spread just basic awareness it will make the world a better place, by saying this I mean those five people will have at the back of their mind what’s arthritis and it might ignite them to know more and they in turn would speak to another 5 people. You can also leverage your network and social media.

Let’s start the awareness chain and let it spread…it is a small drop in the ocean
from our end but yes, it’s a drop for sure!

Let us strengthen our confidence by sharing experiences

We have just finished our Annual World Arthritis Day Meet.
What a memorable event it was..participants described that one of the most
important take home point was meeting others with the same disease and sharing
experiences with them.
The exchange of experiences and knowledge from doctors, fellow patients and
other healthcare professionals made them less worried when they heard them talk.
They knew that periods with increasing and fluctuating symptoms were normal
when having arthritis. Sharing experiences suggest that symptom validation in
group sharing environment gives a legitimacy of symptoms and fears as normal
patient education may endorse participants with increased empowerment and
control of their situation through separating the disease from the person and
consider the arthritis symptoms as challenges they can work on.
Try and connect with other patients and share and hear their challenges and you
share your side.
We need to encourage, lift and strengthen one another.
For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected,
one and all.
Stay connected…

,

It’s World Arthritis Day Today!

As someone who lives with arthritis every day, you can help elevate arthritis awareness on Oct.
12 — World Arthritis Day.
While arthritis is 24/7/365, this is a special day to remember the disease’s far-reaching impact.
The key message is a simple one: Don’t Delay, Connect Today
We @ RAPositivehub.com will be marking the month of October as the Arthritis Month of
Awareness.
So watch out for the upcoming articles.

MY LAUGHTER PRESCRIPTION

I am just so glad to be back, after these past few months of silence! I believe wellness is slowly knocking at my door …and that is definitely so welcoming! Smiles are all around me these days… I started laughing regularly, which I find is important to do, but very hard at times when you […]

RA Positive Arthritic Voice CAMPAIGN

The good things start with us. One voice, one good deed, and it can snow ball into something unbelievable.

I am launching the ‘RA Positive Arthritic Voice campaign. Please be a part of it & help other Arthritic Warriors like each one of us.

I send out an earnest appeal to all Arthritic Warriors, who have done well with treatment. In fact, in real life most of the Arthritic Warriors do well but some of them may not be as fortunate as you have been. Some of them have persistent pain despite the best of treatment rendered to them.

However, a few inspiring words from your side can make an enormous difference to them as well as to those who have been newly diagnosed with Arthritis.

I feel we need to all stand up and pitch in our bit and return it back to the community at large. All those having rheumatic diseases which are characterized by inflammation that affects the connecting or supporting structures of the body- most commonly the joints, but also sometimes the tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles, please share your story.

Please share your experience about the conquest over Arthritis here, and yes also those who are still learning the ropes and would like to give in their bit of their own journey.

Sharing is caring…lets show the world we care with our involvement.

I have hope that we will overcome our Arthritic journey with strength and grace that we arthritic warriors have that only we can explain, God bless us all!

World Arthritis Day – 12th October

World Arthritis Day – 12th October

The RA Positive Hub Campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis in preventing further damage to those living with RMDs, and to encourage timely access to evidence-based treatments and other life style amendments and introductions. Bottom line is creating awareness amongst the community members.

Throughout the world millions of people are affected by arthritis, their, lives being changed by constant pain of inflamed joints.

World Arthritis Day which is celebrated on 12th October every year, is a day to remember and raise awareness of this condition, and how it affects the lives of those that undergo that live with it.

World Arthritis Day is a great time to get out and lend a helping hand to those living with this condition.

Take some time out, do some research and get a very clear understanding oh how people have their lives affected by it.

Reminiscing my RA Journey.

…The positive and the negative influencers.

 

Off late I have been rerunning my journey with rheumatoid arthritis. It has bought up so many pent-up emotions I thought were long gone, and memories I have chosen to forget. Often it is not enough for us to understand our own anguish in the fight with rheumatoid arthritis, but for us to explain it to people is another uphill task.

But the one crucial thing I remember most was trying to educate people to understand, when I myself was so confused and lost.

A very common situation was when people asked how I am feeling. If I said I’m fine and they knew that I’m not, I used to say to myself, please don’t push me to really tell you how I feel. I fear that if I told you the truth I sound like a cry baby, hence I say that I am “fine” and seriously some know the truth but are quite relieved to hear this false statement so that they continue a normal conversation and make you feel they are with you in it!

Many RA symptoms like pain and fatigue aren’t visible. It’s no wonder we get comments like, ‘You don’t look sick.’ In addition, the disease is so unpredictable that it’s difficult for people to understand that we may be able to do something one day and not be able to accomplish the same task the next hour or day. People have no idea how sick someone is on the inside when they can only see the outside. RA as an illness that is all but invisible to the naked eye.

Usually Arthritic Warriors are told that their symptoms are all in their head and that they should just exercise or get occupied in some tasks. It is very easy for people to give advice, but I suggest just for a moment be empathetic and envision the Arthritic warrior’s real situation. It is difficult. If others don’t know about the problems with RA, they think you’re being an antisocial snob. If you try to explain anything about your type of RA problems, they think you’re a complainer. It’s a no-win. Hence it is easier and diplomatic for me to keep them at bay.

It was incredibly difficult being affected at a young age and fighting a pain that no one could see, the most difficult part is dealing with comments from people who really don’t take the time to understand what rheumatoid arthritis is, nor how it affects my husband, daughter and myself. I have come along way but I’m still learning to ignore the negative people if or any in my life.

To end as of now behind my joyful grin, since I was only human and that before I learnt to be positive, my hardest days involved perpetual negative thoughts that would replay over and over again in my mind. Over time, I skillfully turned those negative thoughts into positive intonations through repeated, daily practice. As a result, my efforts enabled me to find true happiness in the midst of a disease that has, at times, almost pushed me to my breaking point.

I remember my then 10-year-old daughter hugging me and saying that it will take away all my pain, I am reminded how I could never had made this journey without my husband and daughter. I have never been alone on this journey my family has been there with me the whole time supporting me. Its our famous trio behind closed doors that have been here fighting for this wonderful life I have today and with God’s grace, despite rheumatoid arthritis, that I live every day.

Learning to be content with your life despite your diagnosis is something that anyone can do. All you have to do is make the decision to be happy. As long as you keep choosing happiness and never give up hope, RA can never bring you down.

Thank you, my loving duo, for being there with me and wish and pray that all the other Arthritic Warriors find such support and love in their own personal arthritic journey.

God Bless us all on our journey back to health and happiness.

PROPER NUTRITION – a fact of life to regain your health – Part 2

Cellular inflammation has been shown to be the underlying marker in nearly every major health problem.  Every single day our body is attacked by free radicals, cells are damaged, and inflammatory mediators are produced and triggered throughout our body.  Fortunately, the Almighty gave us an incredible ability to heal and regulate abnormal cell development.  He also provided us with a way of life to reduce and negate the negative effects of lifestyle stress.

These foods could help to reduce some aspect of inflammation:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The healthiest of fats for people with arthritis or other inflammatory disorders are omega -3 fatty acids. More than a dozen studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fish oils can drastically reduce symptoms of RA. It is recommended an omega-3-rich diet (and in some instances, fish-oil supplements) to all my clients with arthritis. Some of the best foods for omega-3 fatty acids include salmon (wild, fresh, or canned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, Pacific oysters, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, seaweed, and soybeans (edamame).
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: In addition to healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil contains a natural compound called oleocanthal which may help prevent arthritis-related inflammation. These compounds block the same inflammatory pathways as ibuprofen and aspirin, medications commonly used to fight arthritis pain. It is recommended using olive oil when cooking instead of vegetable oil or butter (substitute in equal or lesser amounts). For the highest antioxidant content, choose “extra virgin” olive oil; the stronger the taste, the higher the amounts of oleocanthal the oil is likely to have.
  • Antioxidants — vitamin C, carotenes, bioflavonoids: Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of cell-damaging free radicals and are a critical part of an anti-inflammation diet. Research has also demonstrated that certain antioxidants may help prevent arthritis, slow its progression, and relieve pain. The best are: Vitamin C — found in guava, bell peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, pineapples, kohlrabi, papayas, lemons, broccoli, kale, potatoes, and brussels sprouts. Beta-carotene — found in sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkins, mustard greens, cantaloupes, sweet red peppers, apricots, and spinach. Beta-cryptoxanthin — found in winter squash, pumpkins, persimmons, papayas, tangerines, peppers (red chili and red bell), corn, oranges, apricots, carrots, nectarines, and watermelon. Quercetin — found in onions, kale, leeks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, black currants, elderberries, apricots, red apples with skin, and red/purple/black grapes. Anthocyanins — found in blackberries, black currents, blueberries, eggplant, raspberries, cherries, red/black/purple grapes, strawberries, plums, cranberries, rhubarb, red onions, and apples.
  • Vitamin D: Studies have shown that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D reduces the risk of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Among people who already have osteoarthritis, those who have a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop worsening disability over time. Getting even the basic daily requirement of vitamin D leads to greater muscle strength, improvement in physical functioning, and preservation of cartilage. Some of the best foods for vitamin D include wild salmon, mackerel (not king), sardines, herring, milk (skim or 1 percent low-fat), soy milk, egg yolks, and UV-treated mushrooms.
  • Spices — ginger and turmeric: Certain spices seem to have anti-inflammatory effects and therefore should be considered for arthritis treatment. Among the most promising are ginger and turmeric. Ginger has been shown to lessen the pain of knee osteoarthritis when taken in highly purified, standardized supplement form. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric may help arthritis by suppressing inflammatory body chemicals. The research isn’t strong enough yet to support taking ginger or turmeric in supplement form, but it is highly encouraged adding generous amounts of these spices to food (they’ll add delicious flavor, too!).

The above information is collated from a lot of nutrition sessions I have attended or through various readings.

 

RHEUMATIC DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH -SEPTEMBER

 OUR PLEDGE

As individuals living with rheumatic disease, Let us pledge to:

Exercise Regularly to reduce pain, improve joint function, and delay the onset of disability. To work with our doctors to find exercises that we can do to help me manage our health and get moving for at least 60 minutes each day.

2. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet to reduce inflammation in our joints. We will eat a diet that is low in processed foods and saturated fat and high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans.

3. Take Care of our Mental Health and confront our disease with an open mindset. We will work to manage our stress, get enough sleep and talk it out with our doctor.

4. Be an Active Participant in Self Care by practicing good self-management techniques to help identify the causes of flares, avoid triggers and/or catch them early when they happen and roll out our individual flare plan.

5. We pledge to follow our doctor’s recommended treatment plan and take all our medications as directed.

PROPER NUTRITION- a fact of life to regain your health. – PART 1

Good nutrition is an important part of your overall health. A healthy diet allows the defense systems to work to its full capacity removing antigens that enter the system and removing immune-complexes from the blood. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood. If you as an arthritis patient feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using simple commonsense and self-experimented tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create—and stick to—a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.

Specific food groups that are supposed to increase inflammation include:

  • Trans Fats: Trans fats were created by scientists to give baked goods a longer shelf life. Trans fats are thought to be at least as damaging as saturated fats in terms of inflammation and other health problems. They may even be worse. You won’t have to go to great lengths to determine whether a food contains trans fats or not. Manufacturers are now required to list the amount of trans fats right after listing the saturated fats on the nutrition label.
  • Saturated Fats: This category includes fats in and from animal products, such as fatty meat, poultry skin, and full fat dairy foods. Saturated fats are also found in palm oil and palm-kernel oil, which you may find in the ingredient lists of any number of items on your shelves, including crackers, cookies, bars, nondairy creamers, and other packaged baked goods. We should try to dramatically limit our intake. In addition to carefully reading labels, choose reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean cuts of meat, and skinless chicken.
  • Simple and Refined Carbs: Sugary foods, white-flour baked goods, white rice, bread, crackers, refined carbs increase the inflammation in the body, causing increases in pro-inflammatory compounds.

Suggest try and limit these foods if you want the best chance of reducing arthritis pain and limiting its progression. We are all aware but the internal discipline to get started, trying experimenting and implementing is the initial hurdle, just ignite it within and you will find your journey to wellbeing well aligned.

A healthy diet should include a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins and healthy fats. This gives your body the nutrients and energy it needs to function properly.

Along with the use of medications, a proper diet can curb the inflammatory responses from the body that cause pain. Eating the right foods also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is incredibly important since your hips and knees support most, if not all, of your body weight.

And a well-balanced diet also is vital for building your body’s immune system and healing power. That’s why nutrition can be your ally in fighting pain and inflammation. In short lifestyle modifications are very important for helping someone manage their pain. So go for it!

Next post coming up… foods that are supposed to reduce inflammation.

The above information is collated from a lot of nutrition sessions I have attended or through various readings.

 

POSITIVELY CHALLENGING

POSITIVELY CHALLENGING

As mentioned in my introductory post I try not to be a quitter—or a complainer, even after having to live with pain day in day out for years. Determined not to focus on my “limitations,” I pushed myself at eating healthy and forced myself to keep moving and stay positive and ensured that I take the medications and supplements as prescribed.

My experience with RA has been hugely challenging – especially since I was a formerly ‘super-fit’ individual prior to the development of the condition.  But, I also look back on these experiences with a lot of gratitude as they have enabled me to experience RA across the spectrum – from the very worst case scenario – right through to full, and sometimes sustainable remission thanks to biological therapies along with healthy lifestyle approaches.

My efforts and optimism certainly paid off. “I definitely felt hopeful!”

I think that living with RA brings out the fighter in us. After living with RA for 15 years plus, I am more resilient than I ever knew. I have also learned to pick my battles, I know when I can try and get away with doing something or when I need to let RA win for a day or two by just resting it out.

Most of us experience RA as a constant background reality, often being aware of its presence & the limitations it brings. Our focus should be all about micromanaging & macro managing their symptoms & daily life so that it remains in the background & does not interfere much with our daily lives.

We should listen to our body and do not take it for granted and ignore the signs and symptoms. Put the brakes on time on our simple arthritic road journey, I see this as servicing the car and keeping it in the garage so that when you feel up to it you are back on the road! These breaks are most vital for a pain free and self fulfilment life.

Giving in for a day or two is not the same as giving up…this is what I have worked hard on. Living with RA is not the end of the world. Yes, your world changes, you are not able to do a lot of things but you have to be willing to adapt and keep on living. Though don’t forget to laugh every day. I often laugh at myself from being clumsy, forgetting things or dropping things and these are my small laughter sessions with my family!

As I’ve shared a part of my journey with you, I realize it is exactly that: my own journey. Yours for sure is different but let’s not forget the one thing we all have in common is that we’re much robust than we give ourselves credit for. Time has made us connoisseurs at dealing with the rough stuff, right?

I call upon all to join me in embracing who we are as we move ahead, learning to take care of ourselves while we relish the many things that still bring us joy and happiness.

 

 

 

YOU SENSE THE SYMPTOMS, ACT SWIFTLY…DO NOT DELAY.

YOU SENSE THE SYMPTOMS, ACT SWIFTLY…DO NOT DELAY.

One thing I can vouch for is as with most ailments, early detection and diagnosis for RA are crucial for being able to treat symptoms, manage pain, and slow progression.  In my case an early diagnosis of RA helped me with an individualized treatment plan so that I can continue living a good quality of life.

One should be on the lookout for specific symptoms, such as morning stiffness (particularly in the small joints of the hands or feet) that doesn’t dissipate within about 30 minutes after getting out of bed, joint pain on both sides of the body and warmth and redness around the joints and the swelling, and stiffness along with fatigue, muscle pain weakness and worse joint stiffness after sleeping or prolonged sitting. Getting in and out of bed, bathing and drying yourself, running errands or doing chores, turning faucets on and off, tying shoelaces and other simple and basic activities.

Personally I have seen diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis may be delayed or missed because early symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and weakness, can develop slowly. They can also be easily attributed to other conditions, such as aging, excessive exercise, general malaise, influenza.

Some people seek medical attention only once the symptoms of RA start to have an impact on their daily activities, especially work. However, only seeking help once symptoms are severe enough to have an impact might lead to significant delays. Some might further want to try self-managing the symptoms first (e.g. using over the counter painkillers). If they wait to see whether their own remedies have an effect first, this again might mean delays of weeks or months. A lot of well-wishers advise a barrage of coping strategies and this results in a loss of peak treatment time.

The root of this delay is a widespread lack of knowledge. People with symptoms do not recognize that they might be suffering from the disease or what the consequences of delaying going to a doctor might be.

Another contributing factor I feel is people go to visit GPs who may not be well-informed about the disease and so not adept at picking it out from the hundreds of other musculoskeletal conditions they see, leading to repeat visits from patients and delay in referring them to a rheumatologist/specialist for a diagnosis.

For sure it’s not the patients fault but yes in today’s day and age ailment awareness is crucial for wellbeing for self and family!

Let’s share more information and personal experiences and spread the awareness mission far and wide.

A few basics of Rheumatic Disease

A few basics of Rheumatic Disease

Rheumatic diseases are characterized by inflammation that affects the connecting or
supporting structures of the body — most commonly the joints, but also sometimes the
tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Some rheumatic diseases even affect the organs.
These diseases can ultimately cause loss of function in those body parts.
There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases which exist.
Here are a few of the rheumatic diseases described in just a line:

  • RA- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This rheumatic disease destroys the lining of joints, causing
    swelling, pain, and stiffness throughout the body.
  • JIA-Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: This is one of the most common arthritis in
    childhood, this disease causes pain, swelling, and loss of joint function. Symptoms
    may also include fevers and rashes.
  • AS- Ankylosing Spondylitis: is the most common of the spondyloarthropathies —
    rheumatic diseases that specifically affect the spine — this often occurs in young
    adults.
  • OA- Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis, this rheumatic disease
    destroys cartilage and bone, causing pain and disability.
  • PA- Psoriatic Arthritis: A form of arthritis that occurs in people with the skin disorder
    psoriasis, this painful disease affects joints of the fingers and toes, creating noticeable
    changes in fingernails and toenails.
  • IA-Infectious Arthritis: Some forms of arthritis are caused by viral or bacterial
    infections. Lyme disease results from the bite of a tick carrying specific bacteria, and
    it may cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness of joints.
  • Reactive Arthritis: This rheumatic disease, known as Reiter’s syndrome, is another
    spondyloarthropathy. Often, it's triggered by an infection in the bowels, urinary tract,
    or other organs. Symptoms include skin rashes, eye problems, and sores on the
    mouth
  • Fibromyalgia: This rheumatic disease attacks the muscles and tendons that support
    joints, causing pain, stiffness, and problems sleeping.
  • Gout: This disease is characterized by uric acid crystals in the joints — often the big
    toe that cause episodes of swelling and pain.
  • Lupus: Formally called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this rheumatic disease is
    also an autoimmune disease. Lupus attacks the body’s own healthy cells and tissues,
    causing damage to joints and organs.
  • Scleroderma: The body produces too much collagen, the fibrous material that
    supports the structure of skin and other organs, in this rheumatic disease.
    Scleroderma also affects joints and blood vessels.

LET’S USE FOOD TO RECLAIM OUR WELLNESS

LET’S USE FOOD TO RECLAIM OUR WELLNESS

We as arthritic warriors are always interested in alternative treatments to relieve our enervating condition. My interest in dietary interventions has always been spiraling upwards!  I genuinely believe that one should promulgate diet therapy for Arthritic patients alongside the regular DMARDs and anti-TNFs that are provided for effective management.

The debate that food can cause or relieve arthritis isn’t new. More recently, some health writers have insisted that arthritics should eat or not eat specific foods.

A great deal of discussion as to whether foods ameliorate or perpetuate arthritis, or have any effect at all is hot topic for discussions at forums, support groups.

But through the years I have seen there is a wealth of data supporting the positive impact of food in assisting to decrease or atleast maintain the disease activity. I have been reading a lot and understand the positive effects of nutrients on our immunity and inflammation levels.

We should work to educate and capacitate ourselves with the benefits of eating more vegetarian/vegan diets, eliminate potentially allergic food components, and introduce more poly unsaturated fatty acid/oleic acid/synbiotics in our diet plans. Considering that these foods are not as expensive as any regular therapeutics, they can be easily incorporated for people from any economical background. Personally over the years I have noticed spices like turmeric, ginger, fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes especially the green ones do make me feel better as compared to when I eat processed or high salt, animal products,

A better patient compliance is very crucial for effective care and management of Arthritis.

I will conclude by saying that it may not cure the patients; however, an effective incorporation of these food items in our daily food plan will help to reduce the disease activity, delay disease progression, and reduce joint damage, and eventually a decreased dose of drugs administered for therapeutic treatment of patients.

Will share some interesting food diet recipes, tips, tricks and inspiration which are tried and tested by myself and shared by others… so watch out for the upcoming articles for a healthier, happier you!

Remember: True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in any country’s capital!

BE A PART OF SUPPORT GROUPS

BE A PART OF SUPPORT GROUPS

I have realized that seclusion is damaging to our health and it can be very easy to seclude ourselves when we constantly feel sick and sulky. Supportive friendships and relationships are fundamental to your wellbeing when you suffer from a chronic illness. Finding supportive and nurturing friendships is not a simple task especially when one is perpetually sick. This is something that does not happen overnight but your willpower alone will help you to grow friendships with likeminded people who are aware of the extent of your situations and also share your common interests. Finding a group of people who understand what you’re experiencing, who understand what it’s like to live with chronic illness and chronic pain, can be an excellent way to find the inner strength to face the challenge of your condition and live a fuller life

If you have a chronic illness such as arthritis, you know that dealing with chronic pain and other symptoms can often feel like an uphill battle. Some of you may find that your friends and family don’t fully understand what you’re going through, or may not feel comfortable talking openly with them. It can be tempting to shut yourself off and stay inside, and some days you may not even want to get out of bed. Unfortunately that kind of thinking only adds to your pain.

Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis can be both emotionally and practically challenging. Listening to others who have experienced similar situations is often re-assuring and can be helpful for you. So choose the good ones, and if you don’t have a support system, start cultivating one now. I vouch for it that it will help you tenfold as you deal with your medical problems. Just make sure you let the right people and the right energy in to your inner circle.

For the last 4 years I am a part of a Support Group and have to admit its added so much of meaning and purpose to my life. The group meets to learn and practice breathing, movement, and along with this we meet and share our conditions without any judgement and I have always felt the warmth of love and caring. We are women who have an indirect forum to talk about our struggles with people who understand what we are going through.  We share our personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies or firsthand information about our disease and treatments. We share insight and perspectives about the variety of treatments we have tried. Last but not least, we are women of different ages and walks of life, who were once strangers, have now become friends for life and celebrate small joys together.  We all have something in common with each other. Because we understand each other and what it is like to undergo the pain, we all are always willing to help and support one another.

Thank you my girl gang for being there for me ..my angels !

September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

Coincidently with the launch of my website, September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness month…so here we are supporting it.

In a year some set months are dedicated to provide recognition and propagation of awareness of different diseases.

The purpose of Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

RDAM was launched just last year by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the leading association representing rheumatologists and rheumatology healthcare professionals, and their public awareness campaigns.

We at RA+ve support the intent of this awareness campaign which is to improve the public’s understanding of rheumatic diseases, like RA and others, and to advance the health and wellbeing of the millions of living with these diseases in the world.

The theme of RDAM is “Hundreds of Diseases, One Voice.” This encourages us to work together, speak as one voice, and to help educate the public about the realities of rheumatic diseases and what it’s like to live with one.

This month lets support this awareness. So what can you do to help promote awareness during September? For starters, share this article with your friends and family.

If we truly act as one voice, we can encourage more understanding and compassion for people living with rheumatic diseases – which will improve the lives of millions just like us.